Flying tips

07 Nov 2001 // places

Tip number 1: don´t ever book a flight with 2 stop overs. It sucks. I decided to get on the plane whilst being blissfully unaware of what it would involve. It ended up something like this:

  • 2 hours at Kingsford Smith waiting for the plane to take off at 10:22pm : reasonably tolerable

  • a 10 hour flight to Tokyo on a Qantas flight to connect up with a British Airways flight: was asleep mostly

  • which arrives at Tokyo at 6 in the morning and consequently, I wait 4 hours for the Tokyo-London connection. Narata airport is a strange place at 6 in the morning when there´s nobody there and all the shops are closed. I wandered around this husk of a travel nexus, some kind of bland 60´s sci-fi set, waiting for everything to open at 8. Trust the Japanese to provide a free children´s room with Playstation and Nintendo games for you to play. It was mildly amusing. Had a coffee, ate some rice and raw tuna, as you do and then got back on the plane.

  • an 11 hour flight from Tokyo to London that went over Russia and Scandanavia. Saw lots of snow covered tundras. Couldn´t sleep much so I read and took naps and listened to music. It´s true though, British Airways are way cool. They got a little l.c.d. screen on the back of every seat and you can choose from 12 different channels looped over and over again. It gives you a wonderful sense of illusionary control. Nevertheless, I started getting the heebie-jeebies. Fortunately, the nice people at British Airways fed me before I bolted to the door and tried to open it.

  • got into Heathrow airport at 2 in the afternoon, London time. I am now in a zombie state. 25 hours I´ve been in transit. I now understand what cosmopolitan means. It means there are many different people speaking different languages at once and all of them dressed well. I wait another four hours for a connection to Barcelona. The time passed reasonably quickly. Heathrow Terminal 1 is quite fun to walk around, quite a nice collection of shops. I´ve decided that English accents are very attractive. It´s that oxbridge thing.

  • another 2 hours to Barcelona, by now I feel like a seasoned air passenger. I have heard the safety demonstration twice in one day already. No matter, repitition makes the heart grow fonder.

  • Barcelona airport I get there, with a mild anxiety about my luggage, which I haven´t seen since Kingsford Smith. I feel a genuine sense of relief at seeing old trusty. Barcelona airport is quite beautiful. Marble floor, a latticework of glass stretching around both sides and tasteful shops all decorated with a sense of diverse coherency lacking in any other airport I´ve seen.

  • takes me another 1/2 hour to get into the city. fortunately there´s an ozzie couple halfway down the train to reassure me that I get off at the right stop. Subsequently, I get lost trying to find the main street, the famous La Rambla. Find a hostel recommended in Lonely Planet. It´s full. Try another one. It too is full. Get mild anxiety. Not so bad as I am wide awake and reckon I can slum it on the street. However, third time lucky and it´s beautiful.

From beginning to end 2 + 9 + 4 + 11 + 4 + 2 + 0.5 + 0.5 = 30 hours.

Kids. Don´t do it. Just get off in Heathrow and settle for London.

Although from what I´ve seen of Barcelona, it is stunning and people are out at night, just walking. Just walking.