Friday, June 26, 2009

Airport Hell

So I guess its been awhile since I updated this blog. My apologies, but I've been trapped in Airport Hell.

Airport Hell cannot be found in any one airport. It is, rather, a dimension beyond all airports, which can be entered from any airport in the world. I have been unlucky enough to fall through portals to Airport Hell twice during my trip.

My first journey into Airport Hell took place in Madrid, when I was informed that my flight to London Gatwick was delayed 5 hours. I had already been at the airport for 10 hours when I got the news, since I had decided not to spend money on a hostel seeing as I had such an early flight out. Turned out not to be so early. Anyway, once I finally arrived in London I discovered, to my dismay, that I had missed my flight to Munich and that Easyjet, the airline I was traveling with, didn't have anymore flights to Munich until 6pm the following day. In that moment I knew I had fallen into Airport Hell.

It is very difficult to escape Airport Hell once you enter it. Some people remain trapped there for years. You can often see them, sleeping on airport benches, using their luggage as a pillow and newspaper as a blanket. They live off Toblerone and McDonald's and get about 4 hours of sleep a night, all of it usually occurring between 10 and 2 in the afternoon. Sometimes they snore. There are many circles of Airport Hell. The first circle is canceled flights, the second is delayed, the third is late, the fourth is missed connections, the fifth is lost luggage, the sixth is security check, the seventh is the check-in desk, the eighth is the food court and the ninth is the cellphone parking lot.

It is a terrible place. Luckily, I was able to find my way out by purchasing a 100 dollar ticket with a different airline. I was fortunate, I could have been trapped there for years.

My next foray into the abyss was in Athens. My Mom, who I met in Munich, and I were on our way to Santorini from Munich. We approached the ticket counter, only to be told our flight was--delayed. We took solace in the fact that since we were in the Munich airport, there was a beer garden. It was not the worst 6 hours I've ever spent. When we finally got to Athens we were informed that we had--have you guessed it? Missed our flight. And so we entered Airport Hell.

We spent the night there, in Airport Hell, not the Airport. We wandered through a labyrinth created by Airport Hell to separate us from our luggage. After successfully navigating that obstacle, we encountered a dead end when trying to get our boarding passes. We had to turn around after that, and that was when we encountered the Sphinx who asked us an ancient riddle. We proved ourselves worthy by answering rightly, and as a reward they put us up in a hotel for the night. But since Airport Hell does not need to be in an airport to exist, we had not yet escaped it's foul clutches. After 3 hours of sleep in the airport hotel we finally found our way out and escaped to sunny Santorini, where we enjoyed a much needed rest.

And that is why I haven't updated in a while.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Night at the Airport

At night, when no one is around, all the planes in the airport come alive and have adventures in the abandoned corridors and fly all over the place like over-excited bats.

No, not really. It's not even that quiet in the airport at night. Not quiet in the 24 hour food court, anyway, and especially not quiet right next to the only working power outlet in the whole damn airport.

As I sit here typing this at about midnight, I am totally surrounded by luggage carts and tired people. many of them are eating fried foods from the Open 24 Hours! food court right across from me. Quite a lot of these poor tired souls are totally scoping out my power outlet, which I am using to charge my nearly dead computer. I will let someone else have a turn as soon as the light on my netbook goes green, because I am just that magnanimous.

After my computer charges I will scrapbook.

What? You ask, Megan, scrap booking? *insert noise of disbelief.

I know. But we had to make journal/scrapbooks for our final project in Italy and I decided that it wouldn't be complete unless I did my whole trip. So, like a deranged and confused squirrel, I have been hording scraps of take-out menus, tourist guides and museum pamphlets. But instead of making a nest or simply devouring these scraps as a squirrel might do I will make a scrapbook out of them. And I think that this is a wonderful awake-for-14-hours-sitting-on-the-cold-floor-of-an-airport-not getting-any-sleep project. I am sure the end results of this late night scrap booking binge will be awesome.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Since being in Europe I've eaten over 5 pounds of Nutella. The first 3 lbs. were delicious.

I'm getting tired of it now, but I keep eating it because it's easy and you don't have to cook it. Cooking is something I like to fail at in private, which is tough in crowded hostels.

Once when I lived in the dorms in college, I stayed at school for the weekend and all I ate was tea and cookies and peanut butter and chocolate chips because I was too lazy to leave my room and buy food at the dining hall.

The dining hall was next door.

I could totally see myself just starving to death if left alone too long. Luckily, in the dorm-style rooms I've been staying in at all the hostels I've booked, there's always someone who wants to go for a drink. And in Spain, drinks come with food. So, theoretically, if I drink enough here, I'll never starve.

So, guess...Uno más, por favor.


I have found Jesus. He was standing on top of a big hill looking down at a very nice beach. I kind of got the feeling that he'd like to go down there and chill, but only after he changed out of his robes. Those didn't look like beach-wear.

I am in San Sebastian now, have been for the last few days. The first couple of days were gray and cold. Unfortunate, since the only thing to do here is hang out at the beach. Or I could take a day trip down to Bilbao and see the Guggenheim but I'm slightly wary of doing that since a police officer was killed in a car bomb attack there yesterday. Anyway, today was sunny and I spent most of it on the beach, watching surfers. The waves were kind of huge. I think I'd like to try surfing, but I also kind of think that trying it would injure me irreparably. I might try it anyway tomorrow.

Anyway, off for another dinner of Nutella and crackers.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Adventures of the Amazing Christina in Barcelona

One night in Barcelona Christina was feeling kind of bored.

“Megan,” she said, “Lets go party.”

But Megan wasn't really into the bar scene and refused. Christina tried to change her mind but Megan, having always been kind of a stick-in-the-mud, stood firm. So Christina decided to go out on her own. She remembered that there was a pub across the street from her hotel, so she walked there.

But what do you know, it wasn't really a pub.

Even though the sign out front clearly said “pub,” actually, it was a strip club. Christina found this out the hard way.

“Is she allowed to go in?” The bouncer asked his boss when Christina walked up to the door. He was confused because a woman had never tried to come in except to work, and Christina didn't look like a stripper in her jeans and sweatshirt.

“Well...I guess. If she wants to,” his boss replied. “This is a gentlemen's club,” he said to Christina, who was standing outside.

He gave her a significant look.

“Oh! Christina exclaimed. “Ok, um, that's alright, I'll go next door.”

Christina walked down the street a little ways to a different club and had a drink.

Afterwards she went back to the hotel and told Megan all about her adventure.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Megan Christina Barcelona

So my summer vacation has begun. My plans (and I use the word 'plans' loosely since it implies actual planning and not just intent), are to go to Spain with Christina, one of the girls from my program, and then after she goes home on the 9th to continue ambling around Spain on my own, probably going to Madrid, Granada and San Sebastian until the 23rd when I will fly to Munich to meet my mom and sister. After Munich my mom and I will go on to Greece for awhile, then home.

Huh. That seems like a lot of stuff when I read it over again.

And the best thing about my vacation plans is that they are not completely planned. Like a homeowner moving into a half completed ranch house, I have started my vacation without having a place to sleep every night or a way to get there. Mostly everything is planned, but there are some gaps. I'm kind of filling them in as I go, which I must say doesn't make for the most restful vacation.

I was back in Rome for about 2 hours on Friday. I forgot how much I liked Rome. My stop there included the train station, the bookstore across from the cat sanctuary at the Torre di Argentina and the airport. After a brief fight with our cab driver (which we won), Christina and I were off to Barcelona.

Things we snuck through security at the Fiumicino airport:

1 bottle of water
2 opened packages of gummy bears
Shampoo, toothpaste and a nail file

Luckily we are not terrorists and our flight arrived in Barcelona in one piece.

Our first day in Barcelona we went to the aquarium. It's supposed to be the biggest aquarium in Europe. It was pretty cool, I guess, but after having seen Sea World, if an aquarium doesn't have preforming seals its just not worth going. They did have lots of sharks, most of which I was able to identify on sight thanks to a childhood spent watching the discovery channel. That was pretty sweet. After the aquarium we went to the Picasso museum where I learned all about Picasso. Did you know Picasso drew erotic cartoons? Neither did I, but there they were. Some were very abstract and Picasso-y. Interesting place.

Our second day in Barcelona was a beach day. For lots of people next to us on the beach, it was a naked beach day. It is a very awkward thing, people watching, when the people aren't wearing clothes. Luckily I had my iPod and a book.

Our third day was an architecture day. We walked a crazy amount and saw many interesting things and then we drank fish-bowls of sangria. The sangria didn't have enough fruit, though, so we asked for a knife and cut up our leftover lunch apples and cherries. You could tell everyone else was super jealous of our awesome idea.

It was a pretty cool trip. Some things could have gone more smoothly. For example:

Christina has very bad food-luck. Our first night there she had a terrible salad and didn't want to eat our little fishes with the heads attached appetizer. The next day she ordered a mojito and it was way too strong. That night she accidently ordered a non-alcoholic beer. The next day she asked for soy sauce with her thai food and they brought out a thimble full and charged her .75 cents. Then her sangria didn't have enough fruit. Luckily her bad food karma didn't rub off on me. My food was fine.

And now I'm off to Madrid, hopefully to drink more sangria and to eat tapas. I might also go see some museums or something, if I get around to it.