Monday, August 14, 2006

The Journey Back

I will confess that after hearing that they had foiled the terror plot and that nobody had died, my response was "getting home is going to be a bitch" and started plotting routes back to Canada that didn't involve flying back to England first. Luckily, it wasn't nearly the nightmare that the news would have you believe. Granted, I wasn't at Heathrow so I can't really say what it was like for passengers there. But it does seem to me that if you film footage of your average international airport on any given day you can make it seem like a nightmare, 'cos let's face it airports generally consist of people standing in line or sitting around looking frazzled. Even people who like flying generally can't stand the airport.

Despite the fact that Europeans are far less ignorant than North Americans and spend their lives absorbed in world affairs instead of malls and NASCAR, nobody at the airport in Poland seemed to be aware that they wouldn't be able to take carry-on luggage. So the check in line was a little longer than expected, but no chaos.

Gatwick was a little bit more crazy, but not nearly as bad as it could have been. Watching a toddler stand with her arms out getting patted down by a security guard was one of the stranger things I've witnessed in my life, but she seemed to find it all very amusing.

Having drilled it into our heads that we weren't going to be allowed to take anything except our travel documents on board, the folks at the check-in desk failed to mention that once we got through security anything we bought could be carried onto the plane. So I walked all the way past the main shopping area and to my gate thinking it was going to be eight hours without anything to read. At the gate I noticed the little W.H. Smith was packed with people. At first glance, I assumed it was just people getting a magazine to read while they were waiting, until I saw people with bags of stuff. I checked and, yes indeed, it was okay to bring stuff onto the plane. We were supposed to be boarding at any minute, so I didn't think I had time to get back to the main area, buy a book and make it back to the gate. Of course, it turned out that the plane was delayed by an hour. So needless to say, my one magazine (they were running very low) and my crossword book failed to keep me entertained for the duration of the flight -- but considering how bad things could have been, it seems petty to complain.

I have had a wonderful trip, but I am glad to be home.

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