Airports (1)

I recently heard someone brag about how many airports he had seen. Well, its not the airport that’s important, its where it takes you.

Airports –  they get you places. They are the beginnings and ends of journeys. Beginnings and ends of experiences.

Bucharest, May 31 2006. Work and Travel, the beginning. 

I have seen my first airport at the late age of 21. With a brand new passport in my hand, with a huge black luggage and a hopeful heart, i entered the Bucharest Henri Coanda Airport on the 31 st of June 2006. My friends were already there, ready to embark on what we knew would be the adventure of our lives. On our way to the US. To live the American Dream. And just like any dream, some parts of it were misunderstood, some fogotten, some parts blended together while others stuck onto us forever.

I had 2 bottles of wine in my red back pack, the hand luggage – transporting liquid with you was still allowed…  When i think that, 21 seems soooo far away :)

Milan Malpensa –  May 31, 2006. Airplanes.

We took pictures on the green chaired plane, we got snacks and were happy to be together and… happy. Two of us had never flown before, so all was so new and exciting –  we were naive, loud and happy. Mostly because it was 6:30 am, we had neither slept nor eaten, but, on the plane, we got snacks !

Boston, May 31, 2006 –  Civilization? 

Due to the time difference, my first day as a 21 year old lasted 7 hours longer.

I remember that it was the first time i had ever seen a foot-controlled water tap in the bathroom. I helped a little old lady turn on the water in the bathroom –  and i distinctly remember feeling that yes, i was in another world. It felt scary and new, huge, unknown and … air-conditioned.

New York, La Guardia Airport – September 2006.  Living the dream

The beginning of the travel part was actually marked by the visit to multiple bus stations on our long bus ride to and from Niagara Falls. But the NY airport was also a landmark –  it was when i realized that free Wi-fi is a cool thing.

Too bad that our flight was delayed by almost 2 hrs. That made me take the juvenile decision to call our friends who were  gonna meet us at the other end, and tell them that we would be late. My rationale was that given the delay of the NY plane, we would most surely miss our connecting flight in Washington and thus would have to take a later flight to Denver.

It did not matter that we had spent 3 months working and dealing with impossible personal dilemmas, we were still 2 naive, scared girls on a delayed plane to Washington, so the flight attendant got soft with us and changed our seats, to the 1st row. We had told her the whole story about our flight and about how we had to be in Denver –  us, 2 girls from a far away country from the former USSR.  So she gave us extra snacks, and, while the other flight attendant was announcing the fact that we had landed in Washington but did not have the right to stand up or get our luggage, she gave us our back-packs and, as soon as the door opened, we were out of the plane as bullets.

Washington Airport, September 2006. Getting across

We ran across the airport lanes –  which now i know is not permitted. We ran and we ran, we looked at the monitors real quick and were off to the gate. it closed after we entered  –  the door to the airplane had already been closed when we got to it. But we made it. And all we remember from Washington airport was that its green carpeting had a vertical continuous drawing that was moving really fast under our feet.

We sat on the last 2 available  seats in the plane. Looking at each other, we  breathed in –  we had made it.

“Is this plane going to Denver? ”  i asked the lady next to me, as if we were on a bus. Just to make sure…

Denver Airport, September 2006. Burrito era

So we actually MADE it to the connecting flight to Denver and were there, at the airport, on time. But…  our friends were not.  And that is how and where i ate my first Burrito from Taco bell. A juicy, meaty, flavory, spicy burrito.

(to be continued)