First, I would just like to take a moment to thank all of
those that risked their lives on September 11, as well as those who continued
to protect this country. It is because
of all of you that I felt safe enough to fly this past Wednesday.
Wednesday was such a long day for me. I had three flights, two layovers, and a six
hour time change. To say I was tired at
the end of the journey is an understatement.
The first two flights were not
that bad because if you forget about the time difference, I was really only up
until midnight. It was the final flight
that did me in.
Flight Number One:
This flight was from Columbus to JFK. It was the shortest flight of the three, and
the smallest plane by far. Luckily my
seat was a single, so I did not have to share armrests with anyone. I decided not to use my iPod or Kindle on
this flight so that I was guaranteed to have battery power for the other
two. Instead I read through the
magazines in the pocket in front of my seat.
Now I understand why Richard Castle has a voluntary subscription to Sky
Mall. There are so many cool products in
there. Unfortunately I will probably
never be able to afford any of them, but that’s not the point. As we were landing at JFK (quite roughly, I
might add) I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Manhattan skyline. As the cloud cover was making it difficult to
see much, it took me a second to realize what I was looking at. But there is no mistaking the sight of the
Empire State Building.
Layover Number One:
This layover was very quick it seemed. Once I found the terminal I needed to be in,
I had just enough time to buy a water and call my dad to let him know
everything was good. Actually, they
started boarding the plane (a full half hour early) while I was talking with my
dad, but I was in the third group so I didn’t feel the need to rush. I’m still not sure that I liked how early
they had us board, because it meant extra time sitting in a cramped plane while
it wasn’t even moving.
Flight Number Two:
I had an aisle seat on this flight which I was happy about,
because I hate bothering my neighbor if I need to get up to get something. Before we even took off, I looked through the
in-flight entertainment system (the only saving grace of transatlantic
flights). I could have watched The Big
Bang Theory, a selection of new releases and older releases, or play
games. There were multiple Leonardo
DiCaprio films, including The Great Gatsby, but I decided to hold off on
watching anything right away. Plus, I technically
had to wait until we were at our maximum altitude. I ended up watching Batman Begins, but it
took me somewhere around three hours to finish.
No, not because I was constantly pausing to get up and move around or to
do something else. It was because the
gentleman sitting in front of me kept fidgeting and adjusting his seat. Every time he did this, my screen would freak
out and pause itself. I don’t know if
the calibration was just off or if there was a crossed wire, because half the
time it wouldn’t even recognize when I would try to press a button. Needless to say, once the movie was over I
gave up on the entertainment system. The
rest of the flight I was just reading and listening to music. Flying would be so much easier if I could just
sleep on planes. Oh, and I’m pretty sure
I was the only American passenger on the flight.
Layover Number Two:
Sometimes I feel so lucky to have English as my first language,
but then I remember that I wouldn’t have had to deal with the visa process if I
was part of the EU. My second layover
was at the Madrid airport, so there was always an English translation on every
sign. I’m pretty sure I learned more
Spanish on this trip that I did the entire two years I took Spanish in high
school. The Madrid airport is easily the
most colorful airport I’ve ever been in.
It is absolutely beautiful, and I only saw it when it was still dark
outside. I’m sure it’s even more
beautiful in the daylight.
It took me a bit to find out which gate I was supposed to be
at, but luckily I could recognize the Spanish spelling of Venice. As I was sitting and waiting for my flight to
board, I got to thinking about my last trip to Italy and my journey home. Then I realized that I cannot remember the
actual flights home at all – the layovers and sure, but not the flights. I wonder why that is…
Flight Number Three:
Oddly enough, this flight was the most spacious of the three
and had the most leg room for me. Plus,
it had leather seats which I MUCH prefer.
Again, I had an aisle seat which I normally prefer. But in this one instance, I would have much
preferred a window seat with no neighbors so that I could lay down and pass
out. But alas, no, I had two older
gentlemen as my neighbors. They were
both very quiet and slept most of the flight.
Even though I fully well know that I cannot sleep on planes, I tried my
best to do so. I thought I was in
serious danger of actually passing out from exhaustion.
I will definitely say this: Traveling like this is not for
the faint of heart. Airports require a
lot of walking and pushing your way up through the lines. They may not be as bad as Rome’s metro
system, but they can be quite difficult.
Especially when you’re traveling on busy days of the week or at busy
times of day. I was in the Madrid
airport a little before 7am and there were a decent amount of people there.
I will post about my first few days here in Italy soon!
You Know You’re in
~ You see man purses.
~You see a couple making out mid-flight.
~They announce the safety instructions in three languages.
~You feel like the only English speaker for miles.