Monday, June 12, 2006

Travel: Thursday, 25 May 2006: Touk

When airports grow beyond a certain size, planning becomes a strain to a point where the cracks can be seen. Checking in to Schiphol for a flight to the UK, we found ourselves directed to Departure 3. “That’s odd,” think we, “isn’t it normally Departure 1? I guess we must be departing from the other end of the complex.”
Alas, no. Departure was from the same bunch of gates UK flights normally escape from, much nearer (although still some distance from) Departure 1. Are airports trying to make us slimmer so that they can even further reduce the width of chairs?

Have you ever seen one of those cartoons where they loop the background so that they don’t have to draw so much during a long moving sequence? Airports are like that. After a few hundred meters or so, the shops start repeating themselves. And quite frankly if you didn’t want 3 litres of Chanel No 5 150 meters back, it’s unlikely you have changed your mind now. And even if you did it is only 150 meters back to the shop that was selling it. I have a theory that the shops in airports are really just a sort of 3D wallpaper. Some of them, like the perfumeries cannot be real shops. Nobody wants 3 litres of Chanel No 5, and even if they did they wouldn’t buy it 20 minutes before going on a plane and they wouldn’t want to spend twice as much as it costs in a regular shop for it even if they don’t have to pay tax on it. I’d rather pay less and give some money to the government. After all, they always seem to need it more than I do.


The country is building up to the world cup. Every car seems to have one or two English flags flying from it. That’s the English flag of St George comprising a single red cross on a white backdrop.

These flags are attached to the car at the top of the door which means the window must be open a little bit. This makes the World Cup a bonanza time for car thieves and radio snatchers. Let’s hope people are insured against crime invited by acts of patriotism.


We were staying in an East Sussex village where my parents are camping on the outskirts of awaiting to buy a house there. (It’s a long-ish story.) East Hoathly is a cute village centred – it seems – around a wonderful pub with the kind of French chef that would be all but kidnapped in a Wodehouse novel.

We stayed in an extremely friendly B&B next door to the inn, and having checked in discussed local history with the informed proprietress. After this, we marched next door to devour a well-executed duck and salmon (separately) and to await the arrival of my parents who were delayed due to one of the complexities of moving out of ones old house before the new one is secured. Unfortunately they arrived shortly after the chef had hung up his toque and were forced to dine on “fried tuber thins in a cheese and onion flavour dusting served in a sachet plastique.”

It being super-quiet in the village, I slept like the proverbial log.

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