Between the ongoing debate “do I or do I not have that delicious snack KLM offers on the hour,” I’ve trebled my pop culture knowledge by watching more movies in 20 hours than I typically see in four months. Lovely. I can see Dad’s brow rising at this dubious achievement.And with it comes an education of a different sort, on the life and times of Joan Barberry. See, if you want to get to know someone, miss a plane together. But if you really want to get to know someone, share a Queen-size bed together.
It began in the Delft-blue airport. Admittedly my brain was not firing on all four cylinders as I dragged body and possessions snail-like across Amsterdam’s massive airport. Arriving at the G7 gate (as my ticket specified), I checked with the nice-looking lady across from me if this was indeed the flight to Johannesburg. Yes it was, and I pulled out my laptop to Blurb. I was still Blurbing away when I heard across the intercom, “Barberry, VanDyken, Smith, you are delaying your...” Ah, I laughed, some nit-witted relative is missing his... “flight to Johannesburg.”I looked up, right into the face of that nice woman and the realization smacked me between the eyes: the only other passenger I’d confirmed with was as woefully confused as I was!
Then began an all-out sprint through 2 kilometers of airport, luggage flying and me spiralling around the slow-moving vehicles that filled my path. That nice old lady in her seventies packed some serious speed, but I was to run ahead and “stop the plane.”10 minutes later I arrived at the dead-end of a terminal, gasped the story out to the officials. No no, you’re at the wrong terminal – you missed a turn. Inconceivable.
So I turned and once again burned past the travellers waiting sanely for their flights. Another kilometre (I resolved I would hitherto go jogging while towing 20 lbs of luggage) and I arrived to find the lady looking deflated. That airplane was there, calling – but sealed up like a tank.
Joan and I introduced ourselves, rebooked our flights (no charge thanks to KLM!) and booked a hotel room together. The “Yotel” was space-age: purple light bounced off shiny white PVC furniture, all contained in about 12 square feet. The “Queen-sized” bed extended from the wall, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if sleepers were strapped in and stored vertically, like dishes on a rack.
Ah well, it was a bonding experience. And to our mutual relief, we both presented rather sane, normal characters to each other (Joan has not confirmed this, though she has invited me to her Yukon home.)The rest of the day had been spent touring/ falling asleep on the bus and a lovely canal tour of Amsterdam.
We reflected that night -- with me wearing Joan’s extra pyjamas and she falling under the influence of my sleeping pills – just how quirky providence can be. And that was confirmed in 10 minutes, as I once again found myself sprinting through an empty airport in desperate search of anti-histamines. Joan was having an allergic reaction to those sleeping pills, and “anaphylactic” lent wings to my feet.But here we are, just crossed the macro sandbox of the Sahara and above Africa’s greener climes – and what’s travelling without a little adventure?