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Escape from Madrid

A bunch of private showers don't have curtains, just bathtub and shower head. Others, or in hotels, have a clear divider near the head, but it doesn't go all the way, so that a bad shower angle can easily flood the room. Like this morning, until I got it under control.

8 am airport shuttle is more like the "arrive at 8:08, leave at 8:11" shuttle.

I swear my duffle is spontaneously generating weight. Felt really heavy yesterday despite having my Spanish books in my backpack. Might be better today, after sifting through and throwing out some dead weight -- like the Paris guidebook I'd completely forgotten I'd bought. Forgot about my Paris map too, though I'm keeping that.

Big Sky morning, with lots of scrub, like blend between LA and bus stop Montana.

Found my old US SIM card; I'd even put it in a sensible place. So when I get to the US I can rez my number, assuming AT&T has been charging it for the past 3 months.

I get the impression that the shuttle driver doesn't know which airlines are in which terminals. Good thing I looked it up. Hope I remember the right one.

It'd be nice if the hotel listings on booking.com mentioned not just the existence of an airport hotel shuttle but how often it runs. Or when; someone might care about a :00 hourly shuttle vs. a :30 one.

At least the 20 minute estimate to T1 was accurate. My duffel ran afoul of the carryon weight limit of 8 kg, at 12 kg. So I took my clothes bag out, leaving 6.5 to be checked-in. I bet it won't reach SF on time but I don't think I need it for anything urgent.

Security fast but I forgot to empty my water bottle. At least I have my other empty bottle. But, insurrection! There's no water fountains, even inside security! Where's my little bit of America? What the hell, Europe?

Part of me cries seeing the direct Santiago flights on the screens. And passing the Ryanair Santiago boarding. Wait, Ryanair? Maybe Orbitz just didn't know about direct flights cheaper than $4000, and I had to look elsewhere. Crap.

Gang of loud Spanish people in the bathroom banging on stall doors.

Boarding is at 9:25, once again the opposite of online which implied boarding would close by then.

Got a water refill from a food place.

Check-in asked for my passport but security only asked for my boarding pass. It seems that if I'd managed to print out a pass that I could have arrived at the gate without showing ID. Or boarded the plane. Gee, like a flying bus.


Boarded. Took a while to taxi and take off, but hopefully it's included in the time two hour "flight", 800 miles, cruise speed of 500 mph. Ascent and acceleration seemed gradual. As it happens, the airline magazine has an article on how fragmented European airspace is, 47 traffic control agencies for an airspace the size of the US, and how this often means burning 25% more fuel than needed. There's a Single European Sky initiative underway, but in the meantime planning a route here sounds like a doctor dealing with insurance in the US.

Most of the plane announcements are in German and English, though one also came in what I think was Chinese. Definitely tonal and not Japanese, though sounded a bit odd, not that I know much about Chinese. Or Cantonese vs. Mandarin, or even which one I've heard more of.

Magazine also had a photo of inside Atocha train station in Madrid, where I apparently missed seeing a large indoor tropical garden in the waiting hall. Aww.

Crossing the snow-capped Pyrenees.

Food: croissant, decent; coffee, weak; OJ, standard. Followed by chcolates, the attendant smiled when I got excited at Swiss chocolate. But it's milk and pale brown. Still good. She also thought I'd be able to make my gate.

Was re-watching AMVs -- yes, I have a lot on my phone, and someone remind me to send James the good Haruhi suzumiya AMV links, if he's going to start watching -- but they're showing Tom and Jerry. Is it still funny without sound? Yes. "Professor Tom", "Snowbody Loves Me" -- though I think the music would help on this one, especially with ballerina Jerry, and weird, Tom seems to feel bad about freezing Jerry, and they get along at the end.

Oh, I forgot to mention the animated safety video. 3Dish, not quite Incredibles, maybe more like the Final Fantasy movie?

Not long to get through passport control and trap to the International terminal. Security, otoh... I just love how we need to go through security to go between secured areas. .aero is a new TLD the wifi uses.

Some Middle East looking guy had to be told to have his bag xrayed, and his jacket, and his shoes.

No water fountains! Took a chance on bathroom tap water. Swiss water should be really good, right?

At gate with half hour to spare. Not actually boarding yet.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 3rd, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
you are aware that the fountain water and the bathroom tap are EXACTLY the same? The fountain *may* be cooled but thats it.

so yeah - you can always drink bathroom tap in civilized north-european countries (or kitchen tap, or from the garden hose... :) )

Have a safe trip
Nov. 4th, 2010 05:32 am (UTC)
Although I've been in places in Europe that specifically advised against drinking the tap water. In the Glasgow hostel, the water in the basement kitchen was okay, but not the other water.

The other thing is that where I'm most desperate for water is in airport security zones, with an empty bottle, and the bathroom tap may not be exactly the same, because it may be some set mixture of hot and cold water, with the hot water having leached ??? from the pipes. Lots of big-building bathrooms do that, all you can do is activate the water, not control it.

Otherwise, yeah. Though if you don't have a cup there's a convenience and possible hygiene advantage to the fountain, vs. cupping water in hands from a sink...
Nov. 3rd, 2010 06:34 pm (UTC)
only the US has OSHA which mandates waterfountains.
Nov. 4th, 2010 05:32 am (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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