me and my new Amsterdam airport friend
"I feel normal here."
This was the first thing The Boyfriend said upon arriving in Amsterdam and looking around at all the tall, blonde Dutch people.
The first thing I said was, "I know there's a Starbucks here somewhere..."
sidebar - The Boyfriend is actually only half French, Papa is half Swedish and half Italian. The Boyfriend looks 100% Swedish. This makes him the biggest boy in Le Petit Village, unless a rugby team is about, and one isn't. The Boyfriend is Le Petit Village's resident lifter of heavy things, and mover of furniture. He's handy like that.
I found the Starbucks, there was a long line but I didn't care. With my grande vanilla latte in hand (yummy, tastes like America), my vacation had officially begun. We took a walk around, looking in all the shops and comparing the restaurants, deciding where we'd go for brunch. Our flight wasn't leaving until 2pm so we wanted to eat somewhere we could kick back and kill some time.
A little after 10 and The Boyfriend's hunger took control, kicked us out of the shop, and moved us to a bistro with a bar in it. Not too shabby for an airport...
Sure it was still morning, but we had been awake for over ten hours, nothing wrong with a little of this...
Did you know that in Amsterdam Airport everyone speaks English? It was great, I kept saying s'il vous plaît and merci and they kept saying please and thank you. I was truly on my way home and it felt great. The Boyfriend was confused as to why they couldn't speak French instead. My tired brain made up a response that I'm pretty sure ended with, "so there, nanapoopoo!"
We relaxed for a bit basking in that happy warm glow you always have at the beginning of a vacation, that wonderful feeling of anticipation that ends far too quickly. I was enjoying our just the two of us time and kept waiting for The Boyfriend's lo-jack to activate and Honey Jr or The Spaniard to show up. I guess the lo-jack doesn't work outside of France. Fantastic.
A few hours later with full bellies and new magazines and candy for the flight, we headed towards the gate. It was early but we were tired of milling around. Good thing because two hours before take off and there was a crowd waiting.
Remember the Christmas Day terrorist incident on board that plane headed to the US from Amsterdam? Well Amsterdam certainly does and they are not messing about with security. Keeping in mind that anyone there has already passed through security at Amsterdam or their originating airport, Amsterdam had decided that on flights to the US, you're going to do it again.
First, every one's passports are examined and questioned as to why they are going to the US. I have an American passport and that didn't make them any less curious about me.
Next, your boarding cards are scanned. Because ours were printed at Nice, that flagged us and we were asked to step aside and were interviewed again. This time, they wanted the address of where we were staying in the US and The Boyfriend's ESTA (visa waiver authorization) number. Once again, my American nationality didn't seem to matter at all. Not that I'm complaining, I prefer the thoroughness as opposed to being a name in a five minute tragic news segment and Fifty becoming an orphan.
After our second interview, we had to do the whole security checkpoint stuff again, shoes off the whole kit and kaboodle, but this time, we got to go through that new full body x-ray machine, where they can see you naked. They should really hang a sign on it that says,'Security, brought to you by Osama Bin Laden'. Thanks Osama, you little rascal. Travelling has never been so much fun.
Finally through the security screening (I'm deliberately leaving out the part where they took the two bottles of wine bought from Duty Free in Nice that were in a sealed bag, that's right sealed, off of The Boyfriend and his monster huffing and puffing session after) and we found a spot on the floor to sit on. I'm not usually a fan of sitting on dirty airport floors but it was crowded, and I was tired. Plus I'm sure the airplane seat itself isn't all that hygienic anyway. Never an industrial sized container of Purell when you need one.
There we were, sitting on the dirty floor, fatigued, robbed of our wine, and violated by the full body x-ray, henceforth known as Osama (Osama should at least by you dinner first) when a loud (I really cannot emphasize the loudness here) piercing noise started screaming from an alarm somewhere. I thought blood was going to start seeping out of my eyeballs. Check this out... people watching as I was, there was a boy, probably about eighteen, and looking rather bored, pacing about. You know those emergency doors that say in red writing, 'do not enter', 'emergency only', 'not an exit' all over them? Well boy genius inspired by boredom or the devil, gave the bar that runs across it a little push.
Pandemonium ensued. The shrieking alarm continued for about five funtastic minutes. The boy, looking exactly like Fifty does when he knows he's in trouble, was pulled aside by two security officers and questioned for twenty minutes. I know it was about twenty minutes because we all watched. I made a mental note to never touch one of those doors no matter how curious, bored, or devil possessed I'm feeling. And The Boyfriend and I crossed our fingers that the boy would end up sitting next to us on the flight. Someone to heckle for eight hours would help pass the time. Unfortunately, we weren't that lucky.
However, we were lucky enough to be sitting in the middle two seats of the row of four seats in the middle of the plane. Best seats on the plane if you ask me. Really gives you time to get to know your neighbors and test the resiliency of your deodorant. But at least we have those little individual televisions to watch. Except they were broken. For the entire eight hours.
Can you hear the Gallic huffing and puffing?
"Yes, I would like wine with my peanuts please.
No no, not a glass, the whole bottle is fine."