Here follows the first of two reports on my weekend spent in Merkel Country.
Today’s will focus on the revealing shizzle wot I did experience whilst travelling. The next installment will reveal all the revealing shizzle wot I did experience whilst landed in Berlin.
NB: this post relates somebody else’s holiday experiences aka SHUDDUP I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR CITY-BREAK but you are not stuck in my front room, forced to endure a four-hour slide-show with commentary. Actual facts and meaningful insights will be kept to a minimum.
Observation 1: the security staff at Manchester airport need some customer-service training and/or amphetamines…
There you are, at the first stage of your adventure, full of excitement and anticipation and perhaps a teeny dose of terror as you have spied at least three separate groups of men on stag trips and two hen parties and suspect they will all be spangled by the time you get on the plane. One stag is dressed as a German wench. Another fella is in shirt, tie and blazer, his bottom half in cut-off denim shorts and heels which he is carrying off extremely well and which you know he surely can only achieve if also spangled.
Another stag is dressed in a security uniform and has been forced to deliver a repetitive monologue as we pass, ‘No aerosols, no sharp objects, all liquids in one sealed bag, remove all shoes and electrical items, no aerosols, no sharp objects…’ but as you get closer you see she is an actual security guard with an unintentional appearance of a stag in drag and she is very cross about our desire to travel today.
In fact all the security staff are livid with us. We are not paying customers, we are pathetic plebs with too many cosmetics. They bark instructions at us without making eye-contact. They mean to inform us that they are doing A VERY IMPORTANT JOB while we dick about with our belt-buckles. We must not attempt conversation or smiles. We must not appear happy. We may have travelled on planes a hundred times or never, but no matter, today we are IDIOTS. This is air-travel in 2017, an exercise in making you feel DEGRADED AND STUPID.
Observation 2: every moment of your time in an airport must be spent in some form of queue. This is in order to reinforce the fact that air-travel must make you feel DEGRADED AND STUPID.
The epitome of this occurs when you are instructed to queue in order to board the plane and you begin to SQUEEEEE at your family that THIS IS IT WOO-HOO WE’RE OFF only to be led into a tunnel where you must stand pointlessly for a further 20 minutes, having had your expensive coffee confiscated, all the time thinking, why didn’t they let us stay sitting down out there instead?
Observation 3: your sister will attempt to fall asleep immediately once she’s got her seatbelt on. You must repeatedly prod her and ask her crucial questions like, ‘are you going to turn off data-roaming?’ and ‘is your skin drying out?’
She will respond to this arseholery by treating you as if you are still ten years old which will continue throughout the weekend and will also be taken up by your Dad and which you know is entirely deserved because you keep behaving like a ten-year old like on the first night when you were out having a posh meal and you threw half of it down your posh top.
Observation 4: when flying at 36,000 feet, gawping at the cloud-carpet, your sister persisting in her desire to nap, you begin to think about this funny ol’ planet we call earth and how from up here it all looks lovely and you can’t see any borders or checkpoints and that’s how it should be really because after all who owns the planet and who decides?
You ponder the possibility that the next time you travel to mainland Europe, it will be an unwelcome ordeal not just because of jumped-up airport staff, but because you really will be unwelcome. You’ll have to stand in a special queue at passport control, one which will be signed: BRITISH ARSEHOLES WHO VOTED TO MAKE THEIR LIVES EVEN MORE CRAP. Stag and hen parties will be confined to Blackpool again. Lovely Dads who want to treat their family to a birthday celebration in a foreign land where they talk funny and eat weird food will be forced to go to…Wales.
Observation 5: because of the extortionate price of alcohol and the shortness of the trip, all stags and hens are not only well-behaved, but also provide a rather jolly air of partying which is lovely. They are all so happy. Unlike the cabin crew who have been on the same ‘How To Visibly Hate Customers’ course as the airport security staff and are barely able to conceal their utter revulsion at our presence on their plane.
At Berlin airport we are treated with kindness and respect. The queues move efficiently. The customs officials are warm and welcoming, even though the pic in my ten-year old passport looks nothing like the dark-haired, middle-aged, grinning woman standing in front of them. Everybody is smiling and saying, ‘welcome to Berlin’.
No wonder we’re desperate to leave Europe. They do things so differently here…