Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Postcard from Schiphol airport

I wrote this in a copybook (how old school am I? Pen and paper, people. Pen. and. paper.) while waiting for my flight back to London on Monday night. Good thing I brought it with me. My flight was delayed by three and a half hours. And annoyingly, my friend Aoife (she who wows the boys at my parties), dropped me off an hour and a half before my flight. I thought an hour would be fine but she insisted. Security was quiet so I breezed through. Decided to kill time buying a birthday present for my nephew. But I knew what he wanted so that only took five minutes. Damn.

Then I discovered that there is a museum inside the departures area. How cool is that? But, as you may have guessed by now, it was closed for the evening. So I decided to read for a bit. But as my book is only 112 pages long (Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own in case you’re wondering), I didn’t want to tear through it and then be bored on the flight. Or have nothing to read while waiting for the train to Gatwick to London, which according to my flatmate who looked it up for me, was going to be a long wait of an hour and a half – bloody brilliant. Or even while on the train itself. Or on the bus from the train station to my house. Oh god. When was I going to get home?

Anyway. I got a coffee, sat down, and thought about writing for a bit. I kept seeing things moving in the shadows. Decided that I was tired and that my eyes must be acting up. Looked again. Saw a mouse. I don’t think I’ve seen a mouse at an airport before. I watched it running around the place for a bit – it clearly knew its way around. I began to feel really happy that I had plumped for a coffee and avoided food. Who knows what surfaces had felt the pitter patter of mouse feet?

Then my boredom turned my eyes to the seats that the mouse had just run across. They reminded me of something. Ah yes. Dali’s sofa in the shape of Mae West’s lips. I don’t know why they didn’t go the whole hog and fashion them the same way instead of turning them into a symphony of red and pink in pvc.

But best of all were the airport police. They rode around the airport on Segways. A bit like the dude in that mall cop movie. Well, the trailer anyway as that’s all I’ve seen. Didn’t really give the policemen an air of authority, but then all I could think of was that old Harry Enfield sketch anyway, so I just looked down at the table and smirked to myself.

As for my reflections on Amsterdam itself? Well, it’s been 15 years since my last trip, and I still haven’t been to one of their famed coffee shops. No doubt I’ll want to go to one when I come here again in about 15 years time and they’ll be illegal by then. I did see the prostitutes standing in the windows and I spotted the sex shops which are just about everywhere. Not sure how my aunt managed to take my friend and me around the city when we were 14 while avoiding all of them.

Saw the Purse Museum, two of my cousins, and of course my friend Aoife, which was the main purpose of the visit. Oh, and there was one other thing of note – chips with mayonnaise are great. But 15 years ago, they were definitely the weirdest thing ever…

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