THE JOYS OF INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL

When you take that first step into the airport what you experience is something akin to a an educational walk through a Matisse painting in the sense that you can cast your gaze upon all colors of life. You start with that stereotypical old couple looking strangely like pure virgins of travel, innocent, lost and asking the dumbest fucking questions one could ever possibly ask, which will frustrate the shit out of you if you you are behind them in the queue for the check in counter, but will ultimately fill you with an enormous sense of “how cute”. Moving along your journey takes you to the check in desk where across the counter you find the ice king or queen, completely disillusioned by the fact that he or she has had to deal with dimwits all day. Occasionally you try to break the ice, with a cute comment or gesture and occasionally they may respond with a smile or even partake in some light hearted banter, but nine times out of ten your efforts will fail and they will stick you next to “that” passenger, you know the one, the hygienically challenged, dandruff infested caveman.

Now that your checked in you move to phase two of the process, the dreaded security check. As you approach, you feel the tiny beads of sweat start to form on your forehead, thinking to yourself “what am I going to forget?” My belt? My laptop? My 2 kilos of china white? Low and behold when you walk through the scanning booth the mother fucker beeps louder than you have ever heard it beep before. Panic sets in only for you to realize that you forgot to take of your watch. Sometimes you will then need to go through that whole “search process”, which actually is not too bad considering and no where near as rectally invasive as one originally may have thought or hoped.

And….. you’ve made it. Your on your way and this is where things really start to get interesting. Whilst walking through the departures lounge you are always guaranteed to see quite a vast array of humanity types, some of them quite stereotypical, others somewhat unbelievable. Surely you will see a great number of the “English Language Student”. Typically said student will be between the age of 15-20 years old, Italian, Spanish or German, and after two weeks of alcohol poisoning, very little sleep and an immune system that has long since dissipated, they are ready to infect their entire plane with some type of nasty airborne virus. Ah the joys. Every time you hear one of them cough you imagine this wave of “disease” landing on you. Wonderful.

One humanity type that amuses me greatly upon my every visit to the airport is that rather large family who thought it was a good idea to go on holiday all together (they wont be thinking that in two weeks). You will see the parents, three to four children, one or two boyfriends or girlfriends and occasionally a surviving grandparent. You can tell this group immediately just by the sheer noise and chaos they bring to the terminal. They are usually the ones also who will head straight to the gate and start lining up even up to an hour before boarding. Bless them and their innocent yet invasive ways.

One other life form which seems to be ever present in terminal life is that one dude who has a sleeveless  tshirt. Now don’t take me the wrong way here, I have nothing against the wearing of a good old sleeveless tshirt when the occasion calls for it, but I am not sure travelling from one country to another would be one of those occasions. I find myself waiting intently for this person to speak with the expectation of hearing a good old thick Australian accent, and on many occasions I have not been disappointed. (You can take the man out of Australia, but you can’t take the Australia out of the man).

Right, your terminal exploration is over, you have done the mandatory walk from one end of the other looking at the same old shops you see every single bloody time whilst never making a purchase (except if you forgot to buy helwa ta tork for Uncle Ronnie). And you have witnessed many examples of humanity in that 30 minute journey. It’s finally time to sit down, grab some refreshments and food and chill out before your flight. BUT, then the realization hits you. You have just paid €4.95 for a fucking ham and cheese baguette. Maybe someone smarter than me can explain how anyone can justify charging nearly 5 Euro for a product that has an actual value of around 50 cents? I mean was this bread baked by a naked and extremely horny Scarlett Johansson and served between her ample bosom? Perhaps the ham itself is cut from the famous Spanish and Portuguese Jamon Iberico which was carefully cured for twelve months between Penelope Cruz legs? How else can the price be justified? Sadly you settle to the fact that it is just a sad, pathetic, shitty ham and cheese roll and you’ve just been financially raped. I would just like to say at this point, shame on the world we live in. Not only is it almost too expensive to take your family on holiday, (cue some ass clown giving me some sob story about the economics of airlines and profit margins), but the moment you step into a fucking airport you might as well just drop your pants, bend over and get ready to take the big one right in your cake hole. Pisses me off. Excessive marking up of products should be illegal in my opinion.

Ok, lest not my anger side track me. You have eaten your “delicious bread roll” and finally they call you for your flight and you head over to the gate. There is a decision to be made at this point. In your ultimate state of excitement you are eager to get on that plane and get your holiday underway, but you know you are going to be waiting, standing in that queue for minimum 20 minutes before you get on the plane. So what to do. Well yes, even though it would make no difference what so ever if you just sat down, chilled out, waited for everyone else to board and then calmly got up and made your way to the plane, you still choose to queue like cattle headed for the slaughter. I will even admit it myself, when going on holiday with the family I fall into the very same trap. My excitement gets the better of me and it has a grossly negative effect on my intelligence and decision making ability. The curious thing is when I go away for business I act completely the opposite and I find myself far more relaxed as a result.

Finally you are on the plane. It’s really happening. the chickens have been crammed in for transportation. Unless your family is taking up a whole row, you are always “concerned” about who you maybe sitting next to. Will that person be large? (I find it necessary here to apologize to all persons who have sat next to me on a plane over the past 30 years of air travel). Will they have a serious hygiene problem and smell like a tuna sandwich which has been left in the sun all day? Will you be next to one of those students returning home and potentially one saliva microbe away from a ruined holiday? Or will this person be overly chatty and completely fuck up your plan to get through a good chunk of that brand new book you have been dying to read. All are possibilities, but maybe you get lucky and you get to sit next to the hot lady with the huge fun bags and low cut top who sleeps before the plane takes off, or the hunk with the great body and tight jeans who seems to have been affected by the planes constant vibrations. If you are lucky “or unlucky” enough to have got your self an aisle seat, be prepared. You just know at some point your elbow is will take a good old beating from a passing trolley cart. If you get stuck in a window seat, well I hope you peed before you got on the plane, otherwise you are going to get the “stare of death” when asking two passengers to move so you can head to the “so called” bathroom. And god forbid you need to take a dump while mid flight? If that ever happens take my advice and HOLD IT.

Before I start to really get rambling I will leave it there for now. I will save some for my next trip. If you have any other points or experiences that may have stuck in your mind from your last trip please don’t hesitate to share in the comments below. I am sure you have seen some unbelievable things and we would all love to hear about them.

Happy travels.

Planet Oz.

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