The alarm had been ringing for at least fifteen minutes as I was able to turn it off. At first I had no idea how to make Jenny’s blackberry turn off so instead of throwing it against the wall like I wanted too I managed to turn it off. I gathered up my stuff said goodbye to Jenny and was down the stairs and on my way to the airport bus. Since I did not have that much money on me Jenny had to spot me 5 euros for the taxi that I needed to again take to the bus.
Once I got to the airport I was not feeling so good but managed to check in and get aisle seats for my first flight to Amsterdam and then for the long one to New York. After checking in I got some Pans (a common fastfood type joint in Spain) and a drink. After going through security and getting on the flight I was really feeling bad. I could barely look at the food I had bought and was just trying to sleep. Of course I was sitting next to the most impatient and fidgity person I had ever met. This guy could not sit still. He was constantly waking me up and it took everything I had not to yell at the guy. I wanted to take his head and ram it into the seat in front of him, but I held back.
After I had slept for as long as I could on this 2 hour flight which seemed to take like 5 hours I was able to eat the breakfast sandwich I had picked up from Pans. It made me feel better for like 10 minutes and then I was back to feeling like crap. Once the plane landed I did not have that much time to get to my next flight. However with not that much time to spare I went upstairs in Schipol to Burger King to get a large Fanta with tons of ice. This was like the magical cure for my stomach, head and body. After downing the drink pretty fast I immediately felt relief and was feeling a lot better.
Then it was time to haul ass to immigration and security. The line for immigration was real long. Since a lot of people connect through Europe on their way out of Europe you must get stamped out of your last country in Europe. And since Amsterdam is a major European hub now due to the amount of runway capacity they have (sorry Heathrow), there were a lot of people waiting to get stamped out. Eventually and with ease I was able to get stamped out. Then I got to security. Security was a mess. They were doing security right at the gate with 327 people ready to get on this flight. It was rag-tag to say the least. However I did experience something new while going through security; the full body scan. This highly debated machine is now going to be used throughout the world and at a lot of major US airports. The issue with this full body scan is privacy and I think even radiation or something. But basically they can see your entire body head to toe as if you weren’t wearing any clothes. I am not sure how I feel about this. But if it prevents terrorist attacks and a safer way of traveling then I am all for it.
Once on the flight I sat down in my aisle seat, put on the airplane headphones (I left my very comfortable Bose headphones in my large backpack and watched movie after movie. Mixed in a little kosher food, tomato juice and fanta and I was all set. I really don’t mind long flights if there is a high quality entertainment system like the one on KLM. This flight had hundreds of movies to choose from, TV shows, video games you name it I could do it. It makes the flight more enjoyable and feel a lot shorter.
The show didn’t end when the plane landed. Getting off an international flight at JFK is a disaster. I honestly feel bad for those who don’t have American passports. They have to go through a whole song and dance to get into the country. Fingerprints, scans, questions, and even different passports than what their country normally provides (i.e. Switzerland). However if you have one of those glorious solid blue with gold lettered passports you are all set. While I have seen the line for US Passport holders be down the block and around the corner this time it was basically a breeze. Unfortunately baggage had hundreds and hundreds of people waiting to get bags, people were running around not having a clue what the hell is going on. Lucky for me my bag came out pretty fast. I grabbed my bag and started for customs. This was by far the slowest customs lines I have ever stood in. It rivaled the customs line at Newark coming back from India and Europe, my last two trips. I mean all these people were doing was collecting the customs forms and picking people to get their luggage checked but it seemed like it took forever, and it did. After I survived customs I broke through the exit and got into the lobby of arrivals at Terminal 4.
Now I needed to find my mom who had come to pick me up. I had no cellphone since I left it at home so I wouldn’t be tempted to use it ala Africa in 08 and had no quarters for the payphone. After walking back and forth trying to get quarters I went to this booth and the girl was very nice and gave me 4 quarters for my dollar. I dialed up mom, told her where I was, she scooted over to me and I was on my way back to Great Neck.
Another trip was in the books. 44 countries down (I had previously said 43 but after further review Sweden was actually 44 not 43), great weather, great food (sometimes) and a whole lot of fun along the way. I hoped you have enjoyed following me around Europe the past two weeks, I have certainly had fun sharing my adventures with you.
Hope to see you again next time!
Tags: Barcelona, New York, Spain, Travel