Thursday, July 19, 2007
Yes, I know, it is nowadays not considered to be politically correct to fly or to like flying, because of its (assumed) effect on climate change... which is probably true and justified. But I still love to fly, to peek out of the window, see the landscape below changing, get a few sun rays into my face.
At the Leeds-Bradford airport (LBA) when boarding the plane to Amsterdam, I met Marc from my faculty. He is on the same plane as myself, but in Amsterdam he will continue towards Beijing, to spend a few days before the HCI conference on sightseeing.
In Amsterdam I have the choice to stay at the airport or to go into the city. Marc decides to take a train into town, but for me it would be a bit tight. Also, I feel an upcoming cold - already since a few days I had a slight headache and a sore throat, but so far it has not evolved into anything. I keep eating those Vitamin C chewables and those throat tablets, and they have yet prevented any further worsening. But I do not feel so well, and I decide to take it easy and stay at the airport. Checking out prices of electronics equipment: there is a nice Sony harddisk video camera on sale for 429 Euro, but it is not HiDef. I am looking for a replacement of the broken Archos HD recorder, on which I recorded so many of my car-mounted camera videos in the past 3 years. And if that HD recorder would have its own lens and record preferably in high-definition at 1080i, with 16:9 ratio, this would be quite useful. But these devices are still at the high end of what I would want to spend: starting at around 900 Euro, up to 1600 Euro. One camcorder has even a 5.1 audio recording, with microphones capturing the back noise - very nice! But what I am looking for is a simple stereo mic input so I can plug in my in-ear microphones. And also an external video-input for attaching the recorder to my car-mounted camera. Well, I will wait a bit until these things get cheaper.
Schipol Airport is nice to get an overview on those latest gadgets.
I have a hering roll and a DeKoninck beer (in my opinion it is a bit better than the ubiquitous Heineken). Then the next flight leg to Frankfurt. It seems that the service in planes gets worse every year. Last year, KLM still served those rolls - ok, they were cold and mushy, but at least they had a little substance. Now the passengers only get a box of crackers. Flying has gone downhill in the past 15 years, since I started to be a frequent flyer. Gone are the times of free champagne and constant attention... now all that is here is hazzle at the check-in, endless controls, restrictions...
The flight is short. Great view over Koblenz, the Rhine valley, Wiesbaden, the river Main, then touch-down in Frankfurt. The luggage arrived well, and I head to the car rental desk. Turns out that I had not given them my arrival flight details - so my car is waiting at the other terminal. In FRA there are two main terminals, with separate car rental facilities. So it is always advisable when reserving a car to specify the flight number, and then they figure out where you would pick up the car.
But this turns out to be no problem - AVIS has the car which I wanted available at both terminals. And so I sign the formalities and head to the car pickup, then drive on to my hometown Iphofen, where I have a reunion with my family. We have a nice dinner at the restaurant Zehntkeller.