Last year we had the Croatian Basket ball team on our plane, well this year we had the Dutch Beach Volley Ball Team. You have to wonder when they are going to allow more leg room on planes. These guys were all over six six. One guy was so big he had to duck to get from one area of the plane to another, that is seriously tall.
As always we get on the plane, sit down and then watch the chaos as others come in who obviously cannot read simple signs like ” 36 Window A B C isle” Rocket science it aint. Still it was not all their fault. We occupied 36 D & E, unfortunately someone else had boarding cards with those numbers as well. Possession being nine-tenths of the law we were not moving. The stewardess took our boarding cards checked them and brought them back, then disappeared. Then she came back and did the same again. I never found out what happened to the other passengers, but we stayed where we were.
Non of the Volley Ball team were happy in their seats and there was one stuck behind us complaining that he needed an aisle seat. There was,of course, non available. He complained that the seat next to ours on the window row was empty, but it appeared that the family had paid for the whole row so that there was room for their baby. Still it continued, it was a wonder that the plane ever left the ground, but of course, in the end it did.
As we swept over Buenos Aires and I got a last view of the beautiful city, I started to worry. You see we should have had fifty minutes on the ground at Amsterdam. Our flight was now an hour late, that meant we would arrive ten minutes after our connecting flight left. Even If the plane made up time Schipol is big, seriously big. You can use the travelators and still take over an hour to cross the concourse. Viv told me to settle down we would find out later.
When we were about three hours from Amsterdam I started talking to one of the stewards and he asked to see my boarding pass to Manchester, he said “but your connection is nine fifteen”. It seems they had already changed my flight before I got my boarding passes. It was very efficient of them, but it would have been good if they had told me. Now I had another problem, my taxi home.
I love the way people on planes always think that they are the most important people there. You see it with their massive hand luggage, the way they will sit in a seat other than their pass, and the way they ignore the instructions of the cabin staff. After they called our final approach someone got up and went to the toilet, Viv and I were staggered. Fortunately for him the staff never saw him and he was back in his seat before we hit the ground.
When we landed I had some urgent messaging to do; first off was my taxi. I tried to phone, without success, so I tried SMS. Fortunately he messaged straight back so I knew he had the message. Apparently he was already on his way to Manchester when he got the message. I am glad he had not gone too far and that he had his phone where he could easily see it. Next I tried to SMS some work colleagues to warn them I might be late in work the next day. That done we could now relax as our delayed flight would give us five hours in Schipol.
Schipol is a whole different animal to Eziza (Buenos Aires airpoirt). For a start it is huge, seriously huge. I don’t know the dimensions but it has (I think) eight piers, as they call them. Stand in the middle by the screens and you will be told it can take you up to forty minutes to reach you gate. So to get from the end of one pier to another, well you are talking over an hour, and that is with the benefit of the travellators.
The second big difference is the business ethic; nobody tries to rip you off. Don’t get me wrong, things are not cheap here but it is no more than the premium you would expect to pay in a mall of this quality.
While we were in the gift shop, I had to sort out my bag to find euros. I knew they were in there, but we need four currencies on this trip so the Euros were not near the top.
After our experiences in Argentina, where you need to lock up or bag your bag at every store, I just forgot where I was. I looked for an empty spot at the check out propped my bag on the counter and proceeded to sort it out. The girl said “you can come here to pay” so I told her I was just sorting my bag where she could see what I was doing. She just gave me a very quizzical look then started checking my items. I guess she just did not understand the Argentine attitude that everyone is trying to rob you.
So now I did not mind spending some money, We bought presents for our friends and then went looking for food and relaxation, after all we still had over four hours to kill.
We did not have to wander far off our route, which in some ways was a shame. I just love this airport. Halfway between our two gates was Murphy’s pub. We stopped inside and had a couple of pints of Murphy’s stout. Not as good as Quilmes (only my opinion) but we enjoyed them just the same.
I managed to get on the internet for a short while, email some friends and also make some notes (how else would I remember all this rubbish).
Anyway it would be a long time before we ate again so we bought some food, more stout for me and coffee for the addict. Eziza take note Fifteen Euros, it would have cost that for the coffee at Eziza.
Funny thing though, when we had been there a couple of hours the place was packed, and I only saw one Irish man. He was not drinking stout, he had red wine.
We left a Buenos aires winter at 14 deg , and arrived home to a british summer at 11 deg. Stop telling me it’s cold there!