Sunday, 12 December 2010

Swiss Diaries

29 November 2010, Day 1 - CLT Douglas International Airport

Waiting at airport; power out on B concourse ATL AIrport. Plane delayed - that's okay as long as I can get to my other airport/airplane on time. I can overhear worried passengers asking questions of the Delta People. It should all be fine, everyone is delayed; just sit down and stay calm.

I am excited for Switzerland. No cell phone - all I have are my books, thoughts, prayers, and - well, my map I guess. I'm trying to write legibly. Never a strong point of mine. Why so much context? I guess the vain hope someone will read this and need it. It's a grey day here; my pack is full; I could eat a couple of my granola bars, but I'll wait.

I have minor plans where to go when I arrive. Bern first. Looking forward to the flight. I'll go ask if the plane will be in time. More another time, perhaps.

J. William English

Night. On the Plane. 29/30 November 2010

Have had an adventurous time so far. The plane was delayed so we didn't leave till almost 4:00. On the plane, I was next to a woman who is from Interlaken, flying to Zürich with me. We discussed USA, Switzerland, Zürich, Charlotte, shared travel stories, and had a good time.

Because our plane was late, we didn't arrive at ATL till 4:47. What do you know, but the flight was already gone. So we got re-routed to Zürich via Brussels. At the check-in we almost didn't make it in, and after much wrangling with the attendants, found a seat. I have no boarding pass for CHF, but they said I would not need one. I am sceptical.

Woe of woes, but there is no movie - only overhead and currently they are playing "EAT PRAY LOVE". Not a big fan; it's okay so far. There was turbulence, and so no moving or bathroom or food or movie for an hour. It is bearable; I'm just not sure about when we land. Will be glad when we land in Zürich.

Food being served now. 1:32 local time. Landing in 7 hours. Zürich by 11:00 or so. And on the way back? We'll see.

J. William English

Again - Plane Ride. To Brussels. Late.

Food was okay. Chicken, green beans, sweet, sweet potatoes, salad, cheese, nasty bread, margarine, club crackers, and triple chocolate brownie - with cran-apple juice.

Movie's nearly done. It's cold; not sure if I'll sleep much or not. I want another drink. Maybe Switzerland will be awesome enough to make up for lost time. Strewth, it's annoying not having a cell phone. Frightening, in a way. More later.

Morning. 30 November 7:22 local time, hour and some till arrival.

They brought breakfast a little while ago: orange juice and banana, with a croissant-egg thing. Not horrible. Had worse anyway. TV is playing adverts; what a waste, eh? Oh well. Mornings are always odd on International Flights. Sleep at midnight, wake two hours later and it's 7:30, 8:30, whatever. It feels like you've sleep all night, but it's only been a few hours maximum.

I like mornings though. You don't get much sleep, but they're col. Brussels - Zürich. I just hope it goes smoothly. They haven't issued cards for filling out. That's good, maybe? I just want to be in Switzerland.

J. William English

A Red Horizon, and white clouds. Streaks of grey, rows of stars fading, while the light grows. A moon sliver, above us. Morning begins. My ears close, my skin trembles with cold. Orange and yellow find us, and the band of light that is the rising sun grows larger. Blue, now, and more dense clouds. Below, only clouds, and I wonder what does it look like? Brussels, Belgium, Europe, any of it. All of it. Just a question, and soon, answered. We begin a descent into the vapour.

Brussels, Belgium Airport

Nothing to worry about. The French-Belgian attendants are not only amazingly cute - they're quite helpful as well. Nellie, my travelling companion, has been with me the whole way. When we got to Belgium, she said she would stick with me till we arrived - as, what do you call it, a witness? Yes, I said, witness for our delayed flight. When we went through security a second time, she lifted her foot and showed me her sock saying, "See? I have bought Christmas socks. If they want to make me take off my shoes so they can see my Christmas socks, then oh well."

We went through twice, and the second time they made me squirt saline solution on my arm to test it, make sure it was safe, etc, and then I was through. Nellie is a wonderful and unaccountably God-given blessing. She seems to be the only one on our flight going to Zürich, and we happened to be next to each other. We happened to get talking, and happened to take a liking to each other. Time to board. Later, more.

On Swiss Airplane

More delays, but here. 11:30 arrival they say. Chocolate was passed out. Amazing stuff. Am getting more excited for Switzerland. Planning a route of sorts. It will be very cold, but I think bearable. Nelly (not sure how it is spelt) has been giving me good ideas for things to do. I'll head to Bern and take it from there I suppose.

Plane is running; I'm going to try to keep up my journalling whilst I travel, trains, etc, to get it all down. But I don't know how I'll do. Here we go - next stop ZÜRICH!

Will say bye to Nelly soon. Sad, but a good reminder of God giving what we need for as long as we need it.

J. William English

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