FROM THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS
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An Epilogue to a dual purpose mission to help create peace and harmony in Europe
Sprinting Through Chicago O'Hare Like a Hare (or "OJ")
Time gets elongated on 27-hour trip within 38-hour day; hassles of airline travel
HAIKU, Maui, Mar 8, 2012 - When you travel 9,000 miles across two of the world's biggest oceans and over three continents, everything gets elongated, including time. A normal 24-hour day gets stretched into 38 hours. Even the trip itself - from my hotel in The Hague to our home on Maui - lasted longer than a normal day. Door-to-door it took 27 hours.
But there were some parts of it where time got compressed. That would be in the Windy City - Chicago. I barely made it to my next flight to Los Angeles. Here's how I described what happened in an email to Elizabeth sent from LAX:
Hi, mi Chiquitita. I've made it to LA! Yeah!
So if anyone tells you that overseas travel is fun or glamorous, tell him or her they should see a shrink. Even in first or business class, airline travel is one giant pain in the butt, both literally and figuratively. And if the Spirit realm have not asked me to undertake these two European missions, never in a million years would I have done it on my own. I am not a masochist. So for the last two years running, my number one New Year's resolution has been to travel LESS.
[The Light Beings have told me afterward that my guides and teachers laughed when they heard that. So much for who is in charge of my life. (Evidently not me).] :-)
Maybe I feel that way because I remember the times when global travel was enjoyable. (Not the jet lag; that never was). Frank Sinatra even made airline travel seem glamorous in his songs. But those times are long gone.
As a reminisced today about it during my long flight to LA, I recalled also having to run through the Dallas airport to try to make a connecting flight to Phoenix after my American Airlines incoming flight from London was late. The only thing missing from that episode relative to Chicago today was the TSA security. It was the 1980s. The TSA, of course, is a big part of the change for the worse. But not just TSA. The airlines' attitude, too. The crews nowadays treat the passengers by and large not as valuable customers (except in their PA announcements), but more like school children who need to be disciplined condescendingly.
Anyway, back to Dallas in the 1980s, I made it to the gate just as the DC-10 was being pushed back. I was outraged. Like today, I had a first class ticket. And it was the airline's fault that I was late and had to run to the connecting gate. And then they had the audacity to leave. For some of you who may have forgotten the "good old times," back then, the airlines used to wait a reasonable amount of time for delayed passengers. Other passengers accepted it as commony courtesy - part of the normal service and airline etiquette. Everybody realized that they would not want to be left behind, either, on another flight.
Well, I made a little fuss with the ground crew at the Dallas gate. Okay, truth be told, I made a big fuss. So what happened? I know what you're thinking. I was arrested. Indeed, that's probably what would happen today. Instead, the ground crew talked to the captain and he brought the the big DC-10 back to the gate. Then they all sheepishly admitted that they had sold my seat to a stand-by who was promptly escorted off that aircraft to board the next flight. I also got apologies from everyone on board as well as the ground crew.
Now that, ladies and gentleman, was airline service. Now service is but a nostalgic memory. Passengers are herded like cattle both by the TSA staff and the airlines and then treated like school children after they board.
Oh, I almost forgot. Want to know what a silver lining is? The British security staff are even worse than our TSA. I could write separate stories about that. But I'll spare you. I am tired. And you probably are, too. So just take my word for it and avoid the British airports if at all possible. In my case, it isn't. I've got a daughter and four grandchildren there.
I felt I should share these stories with you just in case some of you may feel deprived of, or are pining to do more, long distance airline travel. Don't.
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Photo Album from Return Trip (Mar 8)
Here is an interesting story my Dutch driver shared with me about the Amsterdam airport's name:
The name of the Amsterdam airport is Schipol. I asked him if the word meant something. He said that "Schip" means a "ship" in Dutch. And "ol" is "hell." So in translation, it would be "ship's hell."
At a first blush, that may be a strange name for an airport. But the Netherlands is an old country. About half of it below sea level. Centuries ago, the Dutch had built a series of dikes that blocked off the North Sea and then filled the shallow ocean bottom with dirt and sand from other place to create new land. As a result, about a third of Holland today is under the sea level. The Schipol airport, for example, is 21 feet under the sea level. It was once a port where many ships had sunk. Thus the name "ship's hell."
Isn't that an interesting story? How would you like to be taking off and landing at a Ship's Hell all the time? :-)
Four different shots of the Full Moon on Mar 8 during my flight from LA to Maui taken with different camera settings.
THE END OF EUROPE 2012 TRAVELOGUE