Monday, September 29, 2014
Sunday, September 28, 2014
When I thought I'd be on the 9 o'clock bus my plan was this: an hour in the transport museum, 2 hours in the apartheid museum, maybe an hour in the origins museum, then however long I had left to spend in the same pub as last time before getting back to the airport for about 6pm. But I was an hour later than that, so the transport museum had to go.
I plugged in the audio tour headphones and left the volume on super high, perching on the side of the bus which gets most shade and trying to connect to wifi while taking the odd unimpressive photo of unimpressive things. The hallucinatory long blinks kept coming and a few times I almost totally passed out, even given the diet coke. It's an hour and 7 stops to the apartheid museum and I'm happy to report I didn't miss it.
In fact, I'm very happy to report that, because the apartheid museum is fantastic.
You start by having the most ludicrously cursory security check I could imagine, and then confusing the ticket woman by refusing to accept the "you came off that bus" discount. Hey, it's my last day, I have rand to spare, and I like museums being funded.
There are 3 suggested itineraries based on time: a quick 1hr involves scooting between the big guns; reading all the black signs and things to which they refer should take 2-2.5 hours, and if you read all the grey stuff as well you could be there forever.
The first exhibits are outside. There are 7 huge pillars, each labelled with one of South Africa's core values. Freedom, respect, that sort of thing. They are very imposing, and there's a few quotes from some famous non-racists plus some benches marked "do not sit on this bench". So far, so flippant.
But then you go inside.
Your first steps indoors are dictated by the random classification given to you on your ticket: white or non-white. Inside there is a display of identification/racial classification cards, as well as lots of text from Siffrican parliaments and parliamentarians over the years, explaining how it works. Race was more than just skin colour, but behaviour, languages spoken, heritage, a few characteristics that all led to what was written on your card and thus dictated what you could do and where you could live. I walked under huge "taxis for whites" signs and read so much awful text. Very powerful and sobering.
Back outside, you walk up a long ramp with mining heritage rocks on the left and human heritage stone art on the right (though I'm sure Tsoukalos would say it was aliens). There are life size pictures of relatives of the early anti-apartheid campaigners "walking" uphill with you.
You reach the roof, and get a view of the Joburg skyline in the background with an old mine head in front. And then, back inside for a 20 minute film about the history of humanity in South Africa, montage style, leading up to the early 20th century. A room full of trinkets donated by the same anti-apartheid relatives is next, with quotes from and about them, before a massive Nelson Mandela temporary exhibit. This is utterly chock full of stories and quotes and pictures from his entire life, in chronological order and grouped by a single noun: from child to statesman via prisoner, politician, lawyer, etc.
Discrepancies in his family's backstory compared to what records show are present, as are other negative reactions to him. Joburg does not appear to flinch from bad stuff, and while obviously he is held in crazily high regard, even in an exhibition about him he is not beyond criticism. I liked (in a way) that he or one of his cohorts was once nicked for "statutory communism".
Back into the main museum and, well, I didn't make notes of it all - I'm sure they have a website which goes into detail. But there is a staggeringly well presented story of race relations in South Africa with large amounts of utterly horrifying detail. Migrant worker pay stayed at a fixed level for 60 years. Blacks were referred to by members of parliament on TV as "these underdeveloped people...who cannot govern themselves" and some stuff about the white man's responsibility, burden even! to teach these savages the value of work, and that life doesn't have to just be hunting and fighting. Paul Sauer, fuck off.
This is less than 60 years ago, remember. I was very worried by how some of the policies closely matched to the kind of rhetoric coming from the EDL, UKIP, Daily Express and Mail, etc. Sigh.
One room has 131 nooses hanging from the ceiling to represent the political prisoners executed by the apartheid regime. I almost cried. :-( In that same room are vivid descriptions of the demise of some prominent folk including Steven Biko.
It's an amazing story, I am a sucker for good overcoming evil, but also just in generic museum terms one of the best I've ever visited. There is video, audio, text, some astonishing photos, and they don't gloss over anything. The room with the 4 video screens showing massacre aftermath next to a cage of decommissioned weapons...eesh. The worst thing was the midway diet coke machine not accepting my coins.
I ended up being there for 3.5 hours, emerging just in time for the 1440 bus. Since that was longer than anticipated, I also had to sack off one of the two remaining ideas so naturally gave up on the origins museum and went to the pub...
...except ALL THE FUCKING PUBS WERE SHUT. What the fuck, Joburg? The bus stop in the studenty drinking district goes past the boozers before stopping so I didn't even get off: everything was shut apart from one coffee shop. Ffhs. Now what am I meant to do?
Bus wifi was working so I sought Guinness and came up dry, so looked for boozers in Sandton. It's a northern flashy suburb where I have to change trains anyway, so I figured I'd get out and drink there. Well, one out of two is pretty bad. I got out, walked a few blocks, everything looked totally not setup for doing much except for a giant mall and some posh hotels, so just went back to the station. One woman not only didn't wait for everyone to get off before boarding. she got on before anyone had got off (it's a terminus!) thus making a good 20 or so people's lives - including her own - quite a lot worse than they needed to be, for a couple of minutes. Another hallucinatory ride later and I'm at the airport, 5 hours before my flight. Boo!
Failed to ask about upgrade possibilities at check in but got my exit row seat, which means it doesn't really matter. At security there were two women funnelling the big queue into little queues for scanners, and one of them pointed at me while shouting something to the other, who stared at me and nodded. Sure enough, my boarding pass got scanned but no one else's did. No idea what that was about. Passports waved me through and before I knew it I was in the lounge necking a diet coke, plate full of pasta, and a beer. How the fuck I haven't passed out yet I do not know.
I just spent 11 hours with my headphones in. My ears feel a bit weird. They went in as soon as I was settled in my seat, because they knock shit out of the BA provided pieces of junk. I dived straight into Curb your Enthusiasm and but there was only one episode I hadn't seen last time. After that, 21 Jump Street, which this time I was able to get past the 4 minute mark and all the way to the end. Did lol.
Took a beer at drinks service, then when the food came around they were offering two drinks to everyone, perhaps as a way of making up for there being no meal choice; mind you, the pasta thing which was all they had left is exactly what I would have ordered anyway. Not long after, one of the cabin crew just popped up randomly to hand me another unsolicited beer, which was nice.
Tried to watch Grudge Match but the inflight entertainment system broke, for everyone, like last time. Well not totally like it - this time it was just down for 20 minutes but not in a reboot cycle. After I blogged about my intention to submit a fairly frivolous complaint to BA for that experience, I submitted a fairly frivolous complaint to BA and got awarded 10,000 bonus Avios within 3 days. Fucking score. This whole trip was slated to earn me about 30-32k so that's a shiny bonus top up if ever there was one. Unfortunately this time around there was nothing worth bitching about, except the short one off outage and the nearest shitter going tonto with 45 minutes to go.
So I watched another sopranos and then went to sleep. It wasn't great - my legs were a bit cramped because of a big inflight entertainment system PC box under the seat in front of me, but at least I could recline. I managed a few hours of interrupted kip, marked most prominently with the dream that we landed and then immediately took back of for a go around because of something in our way on the runway.
When I finally decided to stay awake deliberately, I got engrossed in the moving map display which is awesome with all kinds of pitch and zoom tools and 3d graphics and etc. It was a bit worrying that it reported the estimated arrival time of "n/a". What is this, Malaysia airlines?
Breakfast was ropey, 3 episodes of Louie were excellent but he's still too reminiscent of my mate Tom. I watched that as the sun rose over Africa, and a bland breakfast was served. We landed to clear skies at 0700 and it then took two fucking hours to get out thanks to arriving at the same time as two other jumbo or superjumbos, plus what with being in the last row and everything. Immigration queues were insane, longer for residents than tourists but still a good 300 or 400 people ahead of me I reckon. Thank fuck they man all the desks and do it efficiently. At the front of the queue the woman ahead got a hug, but the queue guy apologised that he wouldn't or couldn't hug me too. That's fine mate, don't worry. Glasses off and through, I got to the Gautrain station and used the remaining credit from last time. Tried to blog first, but wifi wasn't playing ball.
On both legs of the subway I was having micro sleep madness the whole way, a veritable Bulgaria-during-GCERC series of hallucinations and bizarre dreams every time I closed my eyes, with most blinks lasting a good few seconds. At one point the main characters from 21 Jump Street were somehow involved with my forthcoming bus tour. I was writing the start of this, but kept dozing with my fingers all over randomr letters on the ipad keyboard. Oh dear. I still had 11 hours til my next flight, htf am I going to manage this? Maybe I really should have got a day room at a hotel.
A diet coke did no immediate good, but at least at Park I found wifi to post a blog entry. The 1000 bus was on time. Would I stay awake for my stop?
OK so the food was cold, whatever, The beer was nice and I settled down to watch another episode and a half of the Sopranos, this time in the right order. Pretty good. I'm starting from series one cos I've not seen any of it before. The sound effects for punching are mad though, like some crazy 70s Kung fu flick.
Of course what I should have done is start on the preceding blog post but, well, I didn't. Plenty of time for that on the ground.
Scheduled landing time was 1740 but we touched down at 1719, woohoo! What's more we were at a pretty close gate to the flight connections centre which, along with security, was a total breeze. And better yet, emails told me my Joburg flight is leaving late! Boarding is at 1840 from a gate in the T5C satellite and I'm already airside in the main terminal by 1745. So no panic this week, and plenty of time for the lounge. A hundred or so more emails then come in telling me my is flight delayed a bit more, but then on time. Boo. But still plenty of time.
Immediately through security is the main lounge and I ask at the desk I'd there's a lounge in C - there isn't, but I should use the one in B. Fair enough, I've been there, two weeks ago on my way to Joburg on a connection.
The walk to transit is relatively unhindered. I miss a lift by seconds but the next is soon enough, the transit is fast, I know where I'm going. Excellent.
In the lounge, straight into the loo and get changed. Feels good. Then, found a seat and grabbed a plate of quiche and potato salad, and a can of Heineken. True groundhog experience. And then I sat down to write the last post.
You'll note that post ended somewhat hastily. I mean, I had time, but I wanted to eat and drink plus I still had to get to C, so, y'know, I didn't have LOADS of time. But enough. I left the lounge at 1825. 45 minutes til the plane leaves. Easy.
The signs in B say to go to a different transit area to where I got off. Huh, ok. But signs are signs so I follow them. There's no one else around and it looks like I've just missed a monorail. Never mind. A couple of other people arrive and then a transit...whose doors don't open. There are people on it but no announcements. Through the other side, I see people getting on it. I have no idea how to get to that other side. A tiny tiny teeny bit of panic sets in.
The family who had arrived were as confused as me. With no signs or announcements and, worse, another transit visible through the other side, seemingly going to the C gates, the panic gets a bit bigger. It's 1835 now. I run up the escalators and through the terminal to the lift I'd got up when I arrived. Same deal. No signs at the bottom, no announcements, and I just missed a train. It seems like I'm in exactly the same place as before even though I can't be.
This is bullshit. It's 1840. Boarding o'clock. Apparently, according to one sign I have seen, I'm 10 minutes from C. This flight is on an A380 and these are giant planes who open and close boarding early. For fucks sake. Panic is now very high. I run back up the nearest escalators, again through the terminal, back to the first platform. The family are there, having been told by some staff up top that yes, it's the right place, but there are monorails in both directions from there and they don't announce them. You just get on the one whose doors open. Christ. So now it's 1850 and a transit arrives and I'm texting Chris to tell him I might miss the flight, and having a conversation about homemade Cornish pasties with Alex. Priorities are priorities.
I get to C. Peg it up a third set of escalators in ~15 minutes and stride very purposefully towards gate C56, two along from where I surfaced. There's a lot of people hanging around and some announcement about crew not being ready yet so there's a bit of a delay, to a destination ending in -burg. I relax a bit. They repeat and say Hamburg. I speed up. For gods sake BA, do not fly to destinations with the same last syllable from adjacent gates!
Two strides on and there's another loud, serious sounding announcement. Apparently anyone intending to fly to Johannesburg should get to gate C56 immediately or be offloaded. Last and final call. Well OK then!
I have never seen an emptier gate which isn't actually closed than C56. I get to the desk and, phew, I'm through. I think no one else gets on behind me, but then I spot one person, And only one person. I am the last but one to board a heaving double decker plane. Jesus H Christ. Stressed, panicky, hot and sweaty, heart racing, but also laughing at myself a bit. Gotta get my free beer and post to my blog, eh? Just can't do anything simply...
The cabins are boiling hot and carnage, with everyone having a real barney about finding somewhere to put their bags. It's a common thread all fucking day. Mine fits under my seat, but I guess I'm not taking much for 48 hours away.
My boarding pass didn't beep anywhere. The exit row I thought I had secured, I had not secured. I'm in my previously chosen seat, 83A, the very last seat on the left hand side of the upper deck. I picked it so I can recline without worrying about the person behind me (if I'm in front of someone, I just don't recline, simple). I'm gonna need this recline too, if my heart rate ever drops down to a speed conducive to sleep...
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Anyway, listen, I don't have a lot of time and there's free beer and quiche to be had so I'll make this quick. Probably not brief, but quick. Forgive the even worse typos than usual.
When we landed in MAD, about 50% of the cabin jumped up as soon as we stopped, first time, way before the seatbelt signs went off. And then we moved and people were surprised. Jesus. The airbridge was a giant, like, 1km long or something u-shaped thing attached to the very very very end of Madrid terminal 4, this small set of non-schengen gates in an otherwise Schengen terminal (look it up if you don't know what it means, but care). Arriving and departing passengers mix so I could have just hung around, and there was a pub, but I was unsure about my check in status and whether the QR code in my possession would work. Plus I had 3.5 hours and lounge access.
So, though passport control and along terminal 4's single, loooooong corridor. Thought about going in the lounge, but same thought as before took over - even though it's Iberia run, and they could have fixed it for me - so ended up landside. Went to the loo and straight up the escalators to departures. Then I realised that desk check in wasn't open, because I was so early, so I put my passport in a machine and it told me to find some staff. Fuck that. Typed in one of the references and it said, hey, you're already checked in, want a paper boarding pass? Lo and behold, out came paper for the whole way to Joburg. The wrong seat on the long haul, but I'll fix that later...hopefully.
Madrid security is very simple and quick and I was back through and directly opposite the lounge. In I went. I'd read that this is nowhere near as good as the one I was in two weeks ago. I'd read wrong. It was fantastic. Better design, fewer people, less of a Wetherspoons feel, and better food (time of day may be responsible for that). I blogged and cracked into some beer, eventually having 4x 250ml cans in 2.5hours which left me far more pissed the it should have been. Also stocked up on non alcohol and basically every kind of food they had, including these odd random meats that looked like turds which had been left in snow and then half melted again. They tasted better than that.
Every minute or so someone was called to the desk and I kept half expecting to be next, but my name never came up. The internet access experience was as poor as last time, except actually worse because I gave up and paid Three a fiver just so I could roam, and when that kicked in I could only access about two sites. Sigh.
I had a brief panic about Johannesburg. I've got 13 hours there. That's a long time. I rarely spend 13 hours outside my flat in a day. How the fuck am I going to last, and fill the time?
My mood was considerably better by now and I was thinking how I don't have a drinking problem, I have a drinking solution. Then I stole a diet coke and walked out of the lounge. At the passport gates up the end, the same guy who let me into Spain let me back out, with a slightly odd look and raised eyebrow while doing so. The gate was ready for boarding as soon as I was there and hey presto, this time I really did have epic legroom on a genuine exit row.
It was the same plane and gate but different crew. I stretched, watched people board with much less idiocy than the outbound, and dozed off. Only for a few minutes, like. A seatmate arrived and annoyed me, but the flight was much less busy and after the doors shut they fucked off to the other side of the aisle. The announcements kept ending with "thank you for your collaboration"; I expected cooperation, collaboration sounds like something you do with an occupying force.
The inflight menu offered a pizza with two toppings: ham and bacon. Nom. Though I went for an estrella and a Spanish omelette baguette, encased in a film with "hot film" written on it. it was stone cold.
Ok I gotta go to South Africa. This has to wait.
I'm starting this at 8am on a Saturday. I've had a two course breakfast and a few liquids, and am staring at Heathrow's runway/apron, wondering why I'm doing this. But actually I've done the arithmetic and I know full well why. But that doesn't mean I'm not tempted to sack it off and go home right now...
Been in a shitty mood since Thursday evening, when it felt very much like a literal switch flicked in my head. I suppose it was coming: I've been unable to talk myself into running for a number of weeks now, and regularly falling off the bad food wagon, both of which are bad signs. On the flipside, I felt as though I've been largely happy with life and enjoying work - in fact, the last few weeks have been my most productive and enjoyable for probably 6 years or so. And after another pretty stellar day on Thursday I really wanted a pint and some company. I was in a great mood and didn't want the day to finish. And that's why it all went wrong.
I really really didn't just want to go home and sit alone on my sofa again, but there seemed like no other option. The office drinking culture has largely dried up since we moved buildings, and the one person I could think of to grab a midweek beer with was already home by 6pm (it's probably a really bad sign, and offensive to some of my friends, that I only considered one person, but even so, my circle of midweek drinking partners is distressingly small and irregular these days). So instead of going home I worked late, for the fourth day on the spin being first in last out, and when I left I thought, fuck it, I want a pint I'll have a pint. Went to my favourite pub in the world and...sat drinking alone, wishing very much that I wasn't drinking alone.
For around 18 months now I've been very good at not being lonely. I used to spend significant amounts of time and emotional energy wishing I wasn't single, or if in a relationship that I was able to spend every moment with my partner, so that they could distract me from (or even cure) my misery. I wanted a woman to fix my head, which is a thoroughly unreasonable ask. But once I learnt how that's actually my responsibility, I took it and largely did it. So far so good. The problem on Thursday was the opposite. I was in a great mood, wanting to share that, to be happy hyper fun Darren, but I had no choice but to be alone and that pissed me off so fucking much that I got very depressed very quickly. Tried to gee myself up by force anticipating the weekend's flying, only to ruminate on how I wished I wasn't doing that solo either, or at least that the miles I earn weren't just going to spent on yet more time alone (albeit in fancier cabins with better drinks). I did get a bit lost in the massive drama unfolding as a lass spent the best part of an hour ranting about the sexist and racist treatment she'd got at work, while her two companions first failed to comfort her, and then made her feel much much worse such that she was in tears when they all left. Sigh. And at least I could congratulate myself for not going on the fruit machine... only I then spunked £40 in one at the Beer House. So I sat down thinking about the number 40 before finally succumbing to desperation and posting an attention seeking status on Facebook loosely dressed up as an announcement for my adoring audience. Truth is my primary audience for my blog is me - though I do get a very big ego kick out of the fact that a bunch of people are keeping tabs on and enjoying (not) doing this stuff vicariously, I'd put good money on 90% of my hits coming from me. But on Thursday I needed that kick so tried to force it.
It worked, of course. I got some nice public comments and more private ones, in particular a long chat with my only other mileage-running friend in the world (who I'd go on runs with if we didn't live 6000 miles apart), and a brief conversation at 5am with someone I'd not spoken to for way too long - key quote: "just talking to you makes me think about and crave Guinness". So, thanks for taking the bait and all the kind words, folks. Much appreciated. :)
Anyway, enough about my depression.
Friday was another decent day at work. I don't seem to have indecent ones. Sadly no table tennis, but this also means no-one broke their nose which I suppose is a good thing. I left early, having drawn a line in the sand and sent out requests for 6 code reviews to be done in my Monday absence. I wanted to get away early anyway because I was staying in a hotel near Heathrow on Friday night. The Surbiton festival is on this weekend (if that's not reason enough to travel 5300 miles away I don't know what is) and road closures were scheduled to start at some ungodly hour on Saturday, which would make getting to the airport in the morning even more unpleasant than normal. And my flight is at 0910, meaning I really wanted to be there for 7am. I figured £65 for the convenience of being close, and getting probably 2 hours more sleep, was a good deal.
Went home first and had terrible food, while getting very fucking angry at broadband being so slow it wouldn't stream WWE NXT. Wooj was in no mood for a Friday pint so I packed up and fucked off for the bus. At Kingston a man was kneeling on the pavement while smoking and he subsequently sat next to me on the bus, smelling like tobacco and kippers. Meanwhile my mood led me to have a Stanhope-esque rant about charity fundraising elsewhere. If you want me to give money to a cause you like, just ask, OK? The idea of giving money to fight cancer only if you suffer through October without any booze doesn't sit right with me.
On the bus I was obsessively checking the details about Saturday's 3 flights. The London to Johannesburg leg was showing as delayed by 20 minutes, which was great news as that meant lounge time and free sauce. My seats were showing as exit rows, which is also great news but I'm not sure I believe it. I don't actually know what's going on with flights 2 and 3 - since booking them last November I've had 3 different reference numbers (PNRs) and each of them serves a slightly different purpose. Using one of them, I could pick seats on 7 of the 8 flights in the itinerary; on another, I could pick seats on the other flight. The BA site would let me pick some seats but, if I engaged in some jiggery pokery, I could convince the Qatar Airways site (no, I'm not flying Qatar airways) to let me pick exit rows. Except that sometimes wouldn't stick, and I'd ended up with three different seat assignments depending on where I looked.
What's more, online check in had been very wonky. BA had let me check in for the morning flight, because it's booked with a BA code despite being operated by Iberia. Iberia had seemingly let me check in for the afternoon and evening flight, and even sent me boarding passes, except one of them was full of question marks and when I requested a reissue as QR codes, I got two for the same flight. Lastly, a few hours after this half-assed check in, I got a notification that my seats had changed to exit rows but not the ones I'd picked. I mean I really have no idea what's going on now. Why can't I just leave it alone?
I reached Hatton Cross with a dying phone telling me the delay to BA55 has disappeared, and the last More or Less of the series finishing in my ears. My headphones are a mess, the cable is all kinds of fucked and it feels like they could break at any moment. I've taken no care of them at all, yet this pair has lasted longer than each of my last 5 pairs which I've cared for assiduously. Whatever.
The Jurys Inn at Hatton Cross is a very short, easy, and flat walk along one straight road. There are numerous reviews on Hotels.com complaining about the transport - expensive cabs to the terminals, no cabs from the tube to the hotel, buses to terminals infrequent, etc etc. I repeat: very short, easy, flat walk along one straight road from a tube station where the price of getting to any of the terminals is exactly zero pounds and zero pence sterling. I have no idea why people leave such bizarre reviews.
Perhaps the price is confusing. Because after checking in - next to a party of 35, and into "one of our refurbished rooms", dontcha know - I went to the bar and witnessed countless people struggling with sterling currency. On their last night in England before flying home. How had they coped during their time here? Half of them didn't know the value of the coins in their pockets and needed lots of help paying. I also heard numerous requests for "a medium Stella please" and saw people try and tip the barmen. Seriously, which part of the UK have these people been to? Who taught you to buy a medium beer? I can't think of anywhere in the world I've been which has medium beers except maybe oktoberfest.
On my third pint, I shouted at the barman and interrupted him taking someone else's order. I hadn't said much out loud for a few hours and had kinda forgotten how to regulate my volume, plus he'd just short changed me by a fiver, the twat. The Guinness was nice, but watered down. I idly mused at the feasibility of taking the frankly obscene amount of credit available in my wallet, stealing it all, and fucking off permanently.
The bar was heaving for hours, until it very suddenly wasn't. Despite being open until 1am, at about 11:20pm EVERYONE left, and the new comparative silence was pierced by some staggeringly excitable football commentary on a TV at the far end of the bar. And then it was beyond midnight, time for bed.
Startled into life by my 0620 alarm, I almost literally jumped out of bed. Showered, dressed and outside by 0637, tube station timed perfectly and a fairly efficient security regime: hey presto, by 0710 I was sat in the BA lounge with a plate full of bacon baguettes and omelette muffins, accompanied by sundry liquids. Surprisingly, considering my laissez faire attitude to societal norms once airside, I stayed dry. In fact, I chose to get some Headspace (dotcom) because my mood was still pretty low. These meditations really are not well suited to being done in public but it wasn't a total waste and I did feel a bit more relaxed afterwards.
And that's where we came in. I may have been relaxed, but still wasn't fully behind the whole thing, I hadn't had that wave of "this, this is what I want to be doing most of all right now" which being in an airport normally causes. But a few more sugary goods and a bit of typing made me feel better yet, and a further inexplicable boost came from the gate being A1. Top of the heap.
En route to the gate I was waylaid by a man in his inflatable "I'm Scottish!" outfit and his kilted companions. Honestly I don't know whether I'm disappointed or glad that they're not going to Madrid, but Munich. Fast track boarding was hidden away and I sauntered on fairly late, being hindered on the way to my seat by a man who deliberately went 4 rows further back to dump his bag before retreating to his seat. I took the apparently bizarre decision to place my own bag in the locker directly above my seat, which was easy to find because the numbers and letters on this plane are on display and in order. Like on every plane ever. But despite the entire lack of confusing layout and deviation from sense and order, from my seat I watched tens of people stare blankly at the the numbers and letters, then ask the cabin crew questions like "where is row 23?", "where is row 27?". The rows are clearly and sequentially labelled, without gaps. There is no mystery. So what gives?
My exit row smugness dissipates. Row 22 on this plane is next to a crew jump seat and has less legroom than the regular rows. Bah. And being Iberia, there's no free scran on this plane. I don't have any euros to buy from the trolley, so I guess beer can wait until the Madrid wetherspoons lounge - assuming I'm allowed in, that is. The Schengen situation at MAD is a confusing mess, so I'm told, and there is fun to be had when I land. But first, I'm going to watch the Sopranos.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
|A380 entertainment system. Woo.|
|Appetising breakfast is appetising.|
|Obligatory exit-row-legroom shot|
|The sixth of six.|
|Gold Reef City|
|the old Park station platforms|
|Local lager for visiting people|
Saturday, September 13, 2014
|This is not a large screen. Also my fingernails are grim.|
|Dinner is served|
Friday, September 12, 2014
|Meet the Fokker|
|SE England. Literally.|