Tuesday, 10 June 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Terminal Time

You’re at the airport, your flight is delayed for six more hours, and none of your electronic devices is working. How do you pass the time?

Zürich Airport

At last a chance to use one of my prize suspicious photos taken whilst waiting for the plane to leave, from the waiting lounge in Zürich airport.

My flight experiences over the past years have been that the planes arrive and depart when they should and there are no unforeseen delays. On the other hand, flying from Zürich to London and return is no big thing, what could possibly happen?

We assume that London is swamped in fog and the planes cannot land or take off. Perhaps it is Winter and Zürich is buried under snow to such an extent that the plane wings are frozen, snowcats are necessary to clear the runways and we are all sitting nice and warm in the lounge. No problem, My electronic device (I only have one - my phone) is not working, who cares. I definitely do not want to waste my valuable time calling Mr. Swiss. He has a radio and television and will soon see what has happened.

There is an advantage with this electronic stuff not working, my various credit cards cannot be used, meaning that I can look at the goods but cannot buy them. I am saving money, but I can have a good look without feeling guilty about it.

“That’s a very nice cashmere scarf” I say to the assistant at the duty free shop in London.

“I am sorry, but our cash desk is not working due to the power cut” she answers apologetically.

“No Problem” I say, knowing that Mr. Swiss will be happy that I will not be buying right, left and centre at the airport, although he was so looking forward to one of those exclusive Boss polo shirts as a souvenir from the journey. Of course it depends if the catastrophe happens at the London fogbound airport. London does not have so much to offer as Zürich, but as it would be my return flight, I will have to make the most of what I find.

They have quite a good bookstore, so I empty my purse and find some remaining English currency which will just be enough tp cover the price of the latest John Le Carré book. They are usually big, lots of pages, complicated events with many names and people to remember, and the ideal thing to read if stranded at London Airport. Luckily I can give cash for the book. Who cares about a receipt and what the assistant does with the money, not my problem. I have something to read.

Then I see him approaching, the ideal person for a discussion. He looks lost, is carrying a copy of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and so he is Swiss. 

“Can I please sit here” he says looking at the empty place next to me.

I notice immediately the strong Swiss accent, and of course I answer him in perfect fluent Swiss German “Chei Probläm” (no problem).

He is happy, no longer alone as a Swiss amongst the British stuck in a foggy London City Airport and I am happy, I have found a victim for a Swiss German discussion. Of course he is impressed with my knowledge of Swiss German, and we soon find that we have something in common. His brother-in-law originates in the same Kanton (State) where I live. He has never been there, but it is a common denominator, a starting point. He is from the other side of Switzerland, unfortunately Wallis. The people that live in Wallis speak German, have their own dialect, which is not easy to understand.

No problem, I can be very talkative if the need is there and yes, there was a need to pass time. Eventually after a two hour discussion, he had to go somewhere where I could not, being woman, and he never returned. I wonder why? These things always happen to me, so I continued with my John Le Carré book.

I decided to stretch my legs and ventured to the toilet. There was a queue of various ladies, speaking various languages and in different colours. I decided to widen my horizon whilst waiting and began a conversation with a lady from Russia: another chance to try one of my favourite languages. I always miss out on these things. If I am on holiday with Mr. Swiss staying in a hotel, and we have Russians on the next table at breakfast, he always warns me not to begin a conversation. He finds these conversations can become a little embarrassing with my chatting away in Russian with my victims. He feels left out I suppose. Now is my chance, but the lady was not from Russia but from Kazakhstan. It sounds very similar, but we soon discovered that it was not very similar. She moved on and so did I, realising that Russian is not always Russian.

I continued with my book.

“That is one of the best books by John Le Carré” I raised my head to see who was speaking. He was really the George Clooney/Brad Pitt attractive type and he could read books. Such wonderful blue eyes and when he smiled there was a twinkle that reflected on his teeth from the airport lights, a real genuine spark. The next three hours waiting time just flew past. We even had neighbouring seats on the plane to Zürich when we boarded. After landing we collected our luggage. I had mine first so I did a diplomatic disappearing trick at Zürich Airport and left Mr. Brad Clooney still waiting for his luggage. Yes, all good things come to an end. Mr. Swiss was waiting at Zürich Airport.

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  1. Now I have an android tablet, I would want to use the airport's free wi-fi to connect to the internet and check what's going on with my online friends. But if the electronic devices are not working, then like you I would get either a book or a magazine to read.

    1. I have a Kindle and an iPad, but I never take them with me on my journeys. too much danger of losing them or forgetting them.