Saturday, October 27, 2007

God Bless America

The day I left the U.S. to go on my Eastern European Extravaganza, I found myself behaving in an oddly Uber-American fashion.

1) I flew American Airlines.

(This is notsomuch odd, in that I was using frequent flier miles, and I had the most on American, so, coincidence? Yes.)

I had a 2 hour layover at Dallas/Ft. Worth, and it was lunchtime. I wandered around, looking for something to eat that wasn't too fast-foody, and was entering a food court area when I saw a banner for a BBQ place. I thought "AWESOME - I'll have BBQ IN Texas before I leave the United States of America".


2) I ate here:

at the one in Terminal D. And it was D-licious.

(If all that print is too small, it was COUSIN'S BBQ - GO THERE!)

Even though I had my Vanity Fair, and one of the hundred books my mom has given me to read...

3) I bought this for the flight

And Oh My God if you have not read this yet, DO! It's hilarious.

Yes, it was totally obnoxious of me to bring that book to Europe, as it screams "Americana!" at the top of it's lungs. (You know, it's book lungs).

But I was ALL about The America, during my travel debacle at the stupid Munich airport. With stupid Lufthansa Airlines. Uft.

I had to book a flight from Zurich to Prague, since American Airlines does not fly into Prague. I checked several options (Swiss Air, Czech Air, etc), and Lufthansa had a reasonably priced flight that worked well with my arrival into Zurich. The one hitch was that I had to stop in Munich. Fine.

What I did not know, was that when you fly Lufthansa, and stop in Munich, you have to de-plane, get on a bus that circles around the very outskirts of the terminal at 2 mph, and then drops you at an entrance that is about 40 miles away from your gate.

Then you have to go through security. Again. Even though you just got off of a Lufthansa flight, prior to which, you went through security - they make you take off your shoes, and they confiscate the water you bought in Zurich, and begin to lecture you about your Ziploc baggie with your 3 oz. items, and say that it needs to be an "official airport bag", or some such nonsense, and you are looking at your watch, and your boarding pass and thinking "the flight wouldn't just LEAVE, would it? It's my connecting flight, and they know I'm coming, don't they?"

So when you're running through the terminal, passing Gate G29, on your way to G83, around G45 you stop running and wave your boarding pass at the blonde Frau Lufthansa and frantically ask "Has this flight left yet?"

Blonde Frau Lufthansa answers dismissively "Yes, off coursse. Ziss flight lefft 15 minutes ago. Go to za counter." and she waves you in the direction of a long line of people who apparently missed their connecting flights as well - due, in no small part, to the ridiculously unnecessary in-transit procedures.

Muttering to yourself: stupid Lufthansa, stupid Munich airport, stupid Germans... This progresses into the all-consuming hatred of the entire German population, as it is clearly the fault of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich and all who came after that, that you missed your connecting flight.

(Apologies to the Germans. They are a fine people. Some of my best friends are German, blah blah blah.)

The silver lining in this tale of travel woe is that the woman at the information/service counter for Lufthansa was so kind and helpful, and she actually called information to get the phone # for my hotel in Prague, to let them know I would be arriving on a later flight, and would require a later airport pick-up.

This, naturally, made me cry, as I was completely exhausted. DFW/Zurich flight, plus all the running through the Munich airport, plus the lunch I hadn't yet eaten, plus the general frustration of still not having arrived at the final destination all equalled Fragile Me. Nice Frau Lufthansa gave me a meal voucher which I used to purchase something called a Kornspitz sandwich and a Paulaner beer.

Beer is good and makes everything better. I would normally say, that is a totally American statement to make, but beer is a pretty universal equalizer.

God bless beer.