I blog when I go abroad, and occasionally when I do stuff in the UK too. There's a nicer interface over here.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

BA Barajas

Turns out I watched the wrong episode of the Sopranos. Sky Go has put them in random order.

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.

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