Thursday, May 28, 2015

Early for an early flight

Eerie is the only way to describe it. It felt like a neutron apocalypse – the buildings were all in place but there were no people in them.

Walking through the airport terminal at Toulouse-Bergnac, my boots squeaked on the marble floor. I had never heard these boots squeak before. Maybe they did and I just didn’t hear it because other noises drowned them out. Or maybe the combination of floor surface and worn-through soles was unique.

As I strode the moving sidewalk toward the gate, a metallic ting-ting-tin as my boot hit the grate. I could hear the low thrum of the sidewalk’s motor.

From the security check-in to Gate 40, I had not seen a soul. Shops shuttered. Café not yet open. A floor cleaning cart idle, not yet put away.

I still had more than 40 minutes before boarding would begin, so I walked back toward the security area. As if on Hollywood cue, about a dozen movie extra passengers were coming toward me on the ting-ting walk, which didn’t seem to make any noise for them, and on the  tile alongside, which did not seem to squeak.

Through the glass barriers to the check-in counters, I noticed a man, sound asleep, head slumped on his pillow-like double belly. The pushcart in front of him had a backpack and a smaller bag. I wondered if he’d wake up in time to catch his flight.

The only sustenance available was in a pair of vending machines. A range of unhealthy sugary or salty snacks and some beverages. I settled for a bottle of water. (Okay, I succumbed to a package of Oreos as well. It’s going to be three hours before I land in Amsterdam and can get something decent.

I was only about 90 minutes early for my 6:10 am flight. I wasn’t sure if I’d encounter any traffic from the hotel. (I didn’t.) I wasn’t sure how long the check-in and security lines would be (just me). Better, I guess, to have time to wait, read, re-charge the iPad than be rushing and stressed. Even so, that extra 30 or 40 minutes of sleep would have been nice.

I’ll probably sleep on the flight up to Schipol,  then the flight back to Toulouse this evening. It’s a 3-hour drive home once I land tonight, and I’d kinda like to be awake because I’m the driver.

Well, better check the departure signboard. Want to make sure I’m in the right gate area. And the right airport.

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