Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta airport. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta airport. Mostrar todas las entradas

martes, 15 de noviembre de 2016

State visit

   Everyone at the airport was ready. The staff had put on their best clothes and every single corner of the small terminal building had been cleaned to the last millimeter. From very early in the morning, people had arrived to help organize every single part of this impromptu visit. After all, it was the president of the most powerful country in the world. And theirs was one of the poorest and most isolated ones on the whole planet. However, the presidential plane had to refuel somewhere, so the small nation had received the honor of hosting the president for a few hours.

 From the moment they had been warned about the impending arrival of the plane, hundreds of people were put to work. Not only those in the airport, people who only really worked on weekdays and even then only in certain time frames, but also every single operator and technician available. They wanted not only the people to feel welcomed but also to make the best work possible with the plane. They got fuel from the city’s reserves, as the amount they had on the airport was not enough to refill a plane the size of the one they were going to see in a few hours.

 The process required almost every person in the capital, a city of about a thousand people, to wake up and also help by cleaning the streets of the city and the authorities enabling the movement of fuel reserves from where they stored it to the airport, which was fairly close to the city. People took to the streets with brooms and mops and every single cleaning help they could get, but the truth was no one really knew if the president was going to land and stay on the plane or walk around a little bit. Many people were curious like that.

 The president of the tiny nation was the one that was moving all over his house, calling the right people and asking everything from food to more cleaning products. He wanted to send a message through TV but the people of the studios were helping around so he decided to send it through the radio. It was much simpler and more effective; as it was the medium of communication that people listened to while they were preparing the city for the big arrival. Every single person in the country heard it and everyone understood the importance of the visit.

 To the eyes of the world, it was practically a miracle that their country actually existed. To be honest, it had been a thing of luck and one of those strange coincidences that happen out of nowhere. They were too isolated and unimportant. Practically everything they had came from their neighbor to the east. So they had known starvation and real poverty because when that neighbor didn’t have enough for themselves, they suffered too. But the world in general never really knew anything because they weren’t watching, until now.

 The country had no army but its people did behave like one once the president’s message had reached every single person. They knew they had around six hours to have everything ready. With luck, the weather up in the clouds would delay the plane a bit more to give them more time but they constantly checked with the aircraft and that didn’t seem to be the case. Everyone had to do their best in the time given. Only an hour after the president’s announcement, everything was coming up nicely and all citizens were helping, even elders and children.

 A huge amount of people arrived at the terminal in order to use the old kitchens that some rundown businesses had not used in several years. The idea was to cook a good amount of their national food for the people arriving, as well as other dishes that they might like. It wasn’t crazy to think that they would be very hungry, even at that early hour of the day. After all, this was all going on in the darkness of the night. The president was scheduled to arrive around eight o’clock in the morning, so they had to wake up or not even sleep.

 The cooking team was led by the nation president’s chef, his own wife. It wasn’t like in other countries were the president has everything and the people below him have nothing. In that nation, everyone was basically the same. People hadn’t starved in some years but they weren’t rich or even close to that. So the president’s wife decided it was best if someone close to the government like her supervised the food. It was the best way to guarantee that it would be perfect for someone with such a high profile as the ruler of the richest country in the world.

 They acknowledge that all those people in that plane, around two hundred according to the information they had shared with them, had been and eaten in places much better than their small country. That was obvious and they didn’t feel bad about it. But they wanted them to leave knowing a little bit more of their culture and about what they loved to eat and drink in those lands. The menu had been defined by the president’s wife and she was very confident that it was going to be one of the best feasts in the recorded history of their nation.

 It consisted of a special recipe for meatballs using a kind of cheese that was made from goat milk, which also happened to be used in their national beverage, which was kind of like a milkshake but less thick and richer in flavor. They also cooked the goats in various ways and were very proud about their vegetables and mushrooms, of which they had a very large variety. Various dishes were cooked with all those ingredients and some spices too.

 The small country’s president arrived in the airport only two hours before the arrival of the plane, to check everything out. The terminal had been painted in record time by volunteers and the control tower was bursting with life when, in normal days, it would only have one person and not even all day. He thanked everyone there and then went to the terminal’s commercial area where his wife and helpers were giving the final touches to the food. The smell had flooded the building and it was very delicious, so much that many stomachs growled loudly.

 Then, he went outside and did a walk around the tarmac and the runway. There wasn’t a single spec of dust anywhere, which he thought was absolutely magnificent, especially for such a windy part of the country. It seemed as if the weather was also helping them achieve their goal. The red carpet in the tarmac was the same one that the president had stepped on when he was inaugurated for his term, more than three years ago. A president’s term was five years and he couldn’t be reelected, which he personally thought was a good idea.

 He decided to check the band that had been practicing for hour in the cold and congratulated them for the amount of love they were showing the country. He stayed a bit to hear them play and, to be fair, they were not as prepared as he would have like, but there was no way of getting better musicians with only an hour to go. They would have to do. What made them special, at the end of the day, was that they played their instruments with real passion and the idea of making their country proud. And that was more than enough.

 The president decided to wait for the plane in the control tower. There, he would be able to know every detail about the upcoming visit. When he stepped in, the plane had crossed into their airspace. It would be only thirty minutes until they touched down in the runway. The atmosphere was really special. Every single person in the tower, in the terminal, in the tarmac and even in the city was ecstatic. This was, by far, the most exciting thing to ever happen in their country. And they had all worked together to make it the best day possible.


 The plane came out of the clouds and landed, in a very soft and elegant manner. Everyone applauded and greeted the people inside through the radio. The president ran outside, getting ready with all others. Many people from the city had come out of curiosity and they had been allowed to stay a bit further away. The plane parked exactly where they had determined it should go. For some minutes, nothing happened. Then, the door opened and everyone stopped breathing for a second. Their moment had come.

domingo, 3 de abril de 2016

What was that?

   I don’t know if I hadn’t rested well enough or maybe it was the fact that I was using earplugs to block all sounds coming from my annoying roommates.  I had fallen asleep, like always, almost at three in the morning and wasn’t expecting to have nothing notable to tell when I woke up. But then, nightmares and dreams happen and apparently my brain is very active these days.

I know I had a very active dream first. I don’t really remember what it was about but I do remember when I woke up, covered in sweat, in the middle of the night. Something had scared me or made me run because I was panting and sweating and trying to breath. But, after all, I was still sleepy so I fell asleep again and that next dream I remember very well.

 It happened in an airport, just after I had arrived from somewhere to Brasilia. I have no idea if it was actually Brasilia. I have never been there myself but in the dream it was pretty clear that was the city I was in. I walked around the airport and remembered walking with one bag and looking at the incredible ceiling of the terminal and thinking that not so many people used the airport. My subconscious didn’t really add that much people to the dream, only some background “extras”. I walked a lot on that airport, watching the stores and just enjoying myself.

 Then, after many corridors, I arrived at what appeared to be a hotel reception. There, there was a woman who checked me in and joined me to my room, which had all curtains and blinds closed. Somehow, I didn’t think it was strange or weird in any way. When she left, I immediately lay down and rested for a while. Then, I noticed that it was actually very early in the day still and that I had to take advantage of whatever time I had in the city so I had thought of getting a taxi to take me downtown.

 But this I only thought of. Apparently, I couldn’t’ move from the bed anymore but I really wanted to. I didn’t want to waste any time of my trip, which was short I guess, but nothing could make my legs move. I could see the sunlight filtering through the curtains and somehow that made me even sleepier than I already was.

 I fell asleep in a dream and woke up a bit later, the orange light of the afternoon entering the room.  Again, I got worried I was wasting my time in Brasilia so this time I was able to stand up and go to the bathroom. There, I washed my face and started thinking that maybe I had no money to pay the hotel fee. I worried as I checked my bag and went around the room. But then I remembered I did have money so it wasn’t a problem. Curiously, I thought of a trip I was going to make in real life, as if the two events had some relation with the other.

 I went back to sitting in bed and thought of buying a low-cost ticket to Rio and check the city there, doing a favela tour and taking lots of pictures. But I never got out of the hotel room; I didn’t seem capable to do so. I woke up slowly, still thinking about the money. I was sweating a bit and my covers were all around the place. The cold wind of the night was freezing my feet and I had to fix it all to lie there more comfortably. It was late and I had cancelled my alarm clock, which I put on everyday to wake up early to write. I didn’t write a word that day.

  That day, a Saturday, I decided to relax completely. I didn’t do my daily workout either and showered after 1 PM. The rest of the day was relaxing, except for the fact that an apparently important football game was going to take place and there was people everywhere, including my apartment, waiting for it to happen.

 Decided to avoid that, I left to have lunch and then wander around. I ended up exercising after all when I had to walk eight kilometers to my house just because I wanted to take a stroll by the ocean, which was covered by greyish clouds and seemed not to be in the right mood for anyone to come close. I had thought the weather would be better but it wasn’t. When I got home, my feet hurt and I was tired. That Saturday I fell asleep pretty late too, even though I was tired. Something always distracts me.

 I ended up having another dream. Or maybe it was a nightmare. It had different stages or levels or whatever you want to call them but they were all related: it was about me and my father and how we couldn’t really communicate with each other. We argued about thing I don’t remember in different locations that had absolutely nothing to do with is. I think one of them was the former house of my grandfather and another one looked like a market but one that I had never seen before.

 The dream was exhausting. Even being in it, I could notice my body wasn’t working correctly. I was breathing heavily and I couldn’t help thinking it was because I seemed to run after my father a lot in the dream. We moved around the scene like it was a theatre stage and it made me dizzy but I went on doing it exactly the same way because, somehow, it made sense that I did it that way.

 He was being very harsh with me. He insulted me in front of other family members and we fought and I wanted him to understand something but I don’t really remember what that was. And he called me a failure I think and then I realized I couldn’t speak. I tried very hard but couldn’t. My face felt drowned and I woke up then.

 But when I did, I strangely still dreaming because I kept talking or, at least, trying to talk. I opened and closed my mouth and reached for something or someone that wasn’t there and all of this happened in my bed. I had my eyes opened and I remember it vividly. I fell asleep right back and then my voice did work and I could speak and tell him what I felt but he didn’t seem to care about what I had to say. He was so mean and harsh that, when I woke up for good, I realized he wasn’t really my father.

 I had to recover myself from that dream, trying to slow down my breathing and walking outside to turn off that damn light the idiots I live with always leave on. When I went back to bed I felt my back being very wet and I wondered if wearing pajama pants had anything to do with that. After all, I normally slept in my underwear and without a t-shirt even and now I was wearing it all. Did that made me dream so much?

 It was 7AM, according to my cellphone. I still had some hours to rest so I decided to try and use them to calm myself down and breathe easily. I tried to think of places filled with nature and calm and I remembered two beautiful parks I had been in Amsterdam. Both day I had been freezing but I always liked to go to places were normal people went instead of the ones filled with tourists only.

 That apparently helped because I fell asleep for three hours but when I woke up, I gave myself some more minutes to relax, to keep my eyes closed and to breath in order to calm myself down.

 Two nights in a row my brain had given me reasons to run around and worry and try to solve problems that weren’t there. Or were they? What did those dreams meant, if they meant anything at all? I’ve never really bought into all of that psychological shit that says that if you dream about flying it means something. I don’t think the brain is that smart But I do think you dream from your memory and it curious why your subconscious uses certain memories to play around.

 Waking up in the middle of the night, or morning, sweaty and tired, is something that hadn’t happened to me in a while. Normally I don’t remember what I dream but this time it was like both times I had actually just been in those places. And maybe they were nightmares but I have no idea of telling because there wasn’t something obviously scary about them.


 I just decided to write it all down because I don’t want to forget anything about it. Maybe those dreams will come in handy one day. Or maybe writing them down will make them go away or at least change. Who knows?

viernes, 5 de febrero de 2016

Connection

   As we headed to the station, to take that small train that goes around every terminal, I decided to take his hand in mine. Normally I would never do that but I decided this was the best moment to do it. It was time not to mind anymore about who was watching or if they had things to say. All the hate in the world could fall on me but I didn’t care because I understood what he was going through. He needed much more than just my hand in his, but I was happy to feel he took and squeezed it a bit, as if telling me “Thanks, I needed this”.

 We hadn’t spoken in several hours and I decided I didn’t wanted to be the one to talk first. For me, it was a decision he had to make because it was him who needed this time to reflect and think about many things. Well, that was my guess anyway because I couldn’t be inside his head. I did wonder though, about his thoughts and his secrets. But all of that was his to have and not for me to know. I respect a person’s life, and a life always has secrets and things you rarely share with anyone.

 The train station was a bit crowded and, oddly enough, most other passengers were foreigners, just like us. We were in San Francisco international airport and in our train there wasn’t a single Californian. We sat down, put our bad in front of us and felt the pull of the train beneath us, moving slowly towards the next terminal. I noticed my eyes were closing a bit, rocked by the movement of the train. The flight had been very long and we still had another one to go. I had never travelled so far before and felt a bit guilty, as I hadn’t paid for one dime. It had been all him.

 He squeezed my hand again and I turned towards him. His eyes looked sad but they felt stronger than before. He looked at me as if wanting to tell me something but there was no need. I proceeded to lay my head on his shoulder and he did kind of the same. I closed my eyes but I couldn’t really sleep. I just felt closer to him now and didn’t want that moment to end. But the train, after two other stops, finally arrived to the terminal we needed to be in.

 When we stepped out, we walked slowly towards some escalators and eventually to a commercial area. We passed a coffee shop and I asked him if he wanted to grab a bite. He didn’t say anything, just nodded as he yawned from exhaustion. As we wouldn’t let go, he joined me in the queue. We bought two big sandwiches each with cappuccinos and a big muffin to share. After we paid we found a little table a bit separated from the rest of the people and sat there. Our baggage was there too, with the few things we had been able to bring for such a short trip. We started eating in silence, watching people go by.

 We let go for a few seconds, to take our coats off, but he grabbed my hand again as he ate his sandwich. He ate it a bit too fast, he was hungry and he hadn’t told me. I wanted to ask him why he hadn’t told me he was hungry if maybe his stomach hurt or something. I was growing very mad for a moment out of such a silly thing and even my hands began to sweat so he noticed I was going through something. He looked at me and I saw his watery eyes looking at me. I had never thought they were as beautiful as they were in that moment and I felt bad for that.

 I at my sandwich as he drank his cappuccino, drying his eyes with a thick napkin they had given us. I saw he wasn’t feeling good, I saw he was still broken and I hated him for not talking to me. I felt so far from him and I didn’t understood what I was doing there, why he had brought me there if he wasn’t going to tell me anything. I had had it with all the silences and considerations. I didn’t wanted to wonder anymore about what he was thinking or what he wanted to say.

 Suddenly, he stood up and left. When he was two steps away I thought I heard the word “bathroom”. He had used his voice once only to tell me such a stupid thing? I almost made my cappuccino cup make a flip in its own plate but luckily my fist landed in the right place. People looked at me anyway and I just covered my face and lowered it to finish my sandwich and the cappuccino. I took the muffin and took a bit chunk of it with my teeth. The sweetness of the chocolate helped my spirit feel a little bit better.

 When he came back, I noticed he had been crying but I didn’t say a word. I only gave him his half of the muffin but he didn’t grab it so I ate it. I wasn’t going to waste a good muffin just because he wouldn’t talk to me. We took the baggage and started walking around the terminal, trying to make time for the next flight. I checked our gate on a screen and he stood up behind me, not even looking at the screen but at the airplanes on the tarmac. I hate to see him do that because I felt I just couldn’t leave him, ever.

 We got to our gate and sat down by the counter in order to be ready when they called us for boarding, which would began in a matter of two hours. I wanted to fall asleep or at least feel I wanted to be asleep but that time had passed. Maybe it was the coffee or the fact we had eaten something, by I couldn’t fall asleep.

 Then I felt his hand grabbing mine and, of course, I didn’t push him away. Because I wanted to feel his hand and smell his scent and taste his lips. But I didn’t now when I should go for a kiss, a hug or a conversation. I felt lost and kind of in a disadvantage. After all, we had just arrived from his mother’s funeral.

 He squeezed my hand and also stroke it and I just had to look at him. But he wasn’t looking at me but, again, at the planes outside. I squeezed his fingers softly and he did look at me at then he came close and kissed me. His face felt a bit cold, his lips a bit dry, but I knew those were the kisses I had learned to love although covered in a veil of sadness I had to understand. He let go of my hand and put his hand on my face and just keep kissing me. We stopped after a few seconds, smiling.

 Our hands stayed together as people arrived. The plane was going to be full, that was certain. He kept looking to the planes and then he started watching his watch. He was clearly anxious to get back home or maybe worried he had to go back in a plane. He wasn’t that friendly with them. Finally, the boarding process began and some minutes later we were already inside the plane, sitting side my side with and old lady as our neighbor. She was the first person to speak to him and he responded.

 Hearing his voice was the best thing for me. I loved it so much it filled me with joy, tumbling down all the feelings that had gone through my body earlier.  I smile at the lady who told me I had a very charming husband. Of course, I didn’t correct her but my blushed cheeks should have been enough to tell anyone she wasn’t exactly right. As a matter of fact, we had been boyfriends for a bit more than a year. That’s why I felt so strange doing all of this, the trip and meeting the family and all that.

 I mean, I had met them earlier, his mom too. Bu that situation was like getting to know them all again, especially his father who was obviously different now. He interrupted my thoughts by whispering in my ear: “Would you like to?”

 He caught me completely unprepared. I started to sweat again, my heart racing as the plane separated from the terminal and made its way to the runway. He grabbed my hand and from his pocket took out a small box. I started coughing right there. He knew I did that when nervous because he just opened it to reveal a very simple but beautiful ring. He took it out from the box and took my hand. Now, he asked me in a normal voice, making some heads turn.

   - Would you marry me?

 I felt all of them watching me, even if there were maybe only three people paying attention. In my mind, I revisited the funeral and what had happened earlier and the day we met and how we shared our lives and then, I remembered him watching the planes. I remembered that feeling I had when saw him standing there, his back towards me, looking at the tarmac.

 I knew his body and his way of dealing with things. I knew how he ate, how he peed, how he showered, what his favorite curse word was and how high he could jump. I knew I like his hugs and his voice. He had said to me he liked my body and my eyes and my mind. I also knew there were things he didn’t know about me and I didn’t know about him. There were secrets and thought that were private. So many feelings.

   - Yes. Yes, I will.

sábado, 21 de febrero de 2015

Flights

   The flight had not been awful but my body was just sore from being seated for so many hours. Somehow, those airplane exercises did not do the trick for me. Besides getting in the way of some people, they didn’t accomplish anything. When we finally landed, I felt my legs weakened by the journey. And to think I still had six more hours to go. But at least I had twenty hours to refresh and relax before hopping into another aircraft.

 I went through customs quite fast, and then headed straight for the airport hotel. I had my only bag with me and was certainly happy to be able to sleep in a proper bed for at least a few hours.

 The lady at the counter of the hotel seemed a bit distracted by something and kept looking towards a TV located in a small meeting area besides her post. I asked her if there was something wrong and she said something about a hurricane that was battering some islands in the south. It was feared that the storm could come this way. But, at the moment, her words seemed not all that important to me. As a matter of fact, the moment she gave me my bedroom keys, I had only the bed on my mind.

 The walk from the front desk to my room felt short and, seconds after I closed the door, I had stripped to my underwear and was making my way into the cozy queen sized bed. I fell asleep fast didn’t even remember to put an alarm in case I slept longer than I expected.

 I had a dreamless sleep, very nice and cozy. When I woke up, I saw the sun through the curtain, which could only mean that the day was coming to an end. I grabbed my cellphone and realized I had slept seven hours straight, which was perfect for a guy that had to make another six-hour flight the following morning.

 I stayed in bed a few minutes until I realized I could have a nice hot shower and change my clothes, which I did. I even sang through my entire time in the bathroom. For some reason, a hotel made me feel special, more so when my company was the one that had to pay and not me. After changing clothes to a less constricting combo of shirt and jeans, I decided to head down to the restaurant.

 When I got there, I noticed there was no self-service but one could order anything from one of the waiters, which I did: a big cheeseburger with fries and onion rings. Yeah, I was starving after my sleep. The television screens were still broadcasting images from the storm in the tropics and warned people in the city were I was that they should be mindful of the storm for the next few days.

 When my burger came I ate it so fast, I surprised myself, and the waiter, who kindly asked if I needed something else. I told him to bring me lemonade and to put it all on my tab, as I had no money to pay and even If had had any money I wouldn’t. After a week of hard work, I had earned all the nice treatment.

 There were only a couple more tables occupied and some people on the bar. I looked at those people, the kind that have their first drink of the day at four o’clock. It was nice to be that careless with one’s decisions, although maybe they had interesting jobs or just lives that required that extra kick. As I drank my beverage, I saw them all one by one and realized I knew one of those men: he had worked with me years ago but he had left, probably fired but I did not know for a fact.

 He noticed I was looking at him and stared back and, clearly, he realized who I was. He waved, a whisky glass in one hand, and came walking towards my table, smiling like an idiot. I had just remembered I did not like him very much when he took a seat just besides me.

 He acted all surprised and shocked and happy to see me but somehow I know it was all a lie. I normally knew when people were being deceitful to me and guy just didn’t seem quite honest to me. He smiled a lot and I had always mistrusted that and he had stopped drinking, which was clearly a bad sign.

 The man started talking about his new job, where he traveled a lot and met many famous people. He was something like and insurance guy for the wealthy or something like that. To be honest, I did not pay much attention to anything he said and, from time to time, I would look towards the screens still showing what was happening in another part of the world.

 He obviously noticed me doing do because he started giving me he’s opinion of the matter, as if an opinion was able to change the path of an incoming storm. Yeah, I clearly remember I hated that guy. He was always trying to be visible, attracting everyone to his stupid life and just trying to be funny and just coming out pathetic. He was the kind of person that was desperate for attention and I had never cared for any of that.

 Without any warning, I told him I had some affairs to attend in my room and shook hands with him. As I walked away he told me to email him some time and I nodded but I clearly had no intention to do so. I decided to get around the airport, which was huge, and walk around until my flight became available on the screens all around the place.

 The airport had three terminals and each one was simply huge and well connected, so walking was just a pleasure, looking at people come and go, the pilots and flight attendants and all the colors their uniforms sported. Besides, I had always liked airplanes so my favorite thing to do was buying some candy and then seating by a large window and stare and the planes moving all over the tarmac. It was like watching ants work on giants or something. Maybe that’s what was attractive to me…

 After getting bored and running out of candy, I decided to shop for some souvenirs. They weren’t for me but for my friends and family, all of whom loved to receive t-shirts and fridge magnets after I had traveled around the world. My mother had a collection of those and I had already bought her some in my earlier destination. I found a store that sold several of those, shaped as animals and fruits so I bought a whole bag.

 My sister’s gift was a bit trickier as she loved clothing but I always seemed to forget what size she wore and which colors she was into right now. They changed quite often and it was hard to keep up with it. So I just bought her a black sweater with a funny image on it thinking it went with everything and even if I got the wrong sixe I could tell her I thought she could use at nights or something.

 For my friends I bought boxes and boxes of chocolate and candy. That was what they liked, besides booze, which I couldn’t buy because I had always been scared a bottle would break and then of my underwear would smell of vodka or something. Some of the candy I bought were filled with rum and gin so that would cover me with them.

 I went back to my room, realizing my flight was only three hours away. I got everything I had bought into my suitcase but I couldn’t make the chocolate boxes fit in so I took that on their bad and hoped for security officers not to annoy me about it. I took all my things; check the room twice for things I may have left around and then left the room. In the front desk, the receptionist was busy on the phone, speaking occasionally. She hung up and attended me quickly to go away rather hastily.

 Not thinking twice about it, I walked straight to customs again, then to my gate were I sat down to wait for the boarding procedure. As I checked my emails on my phone, an airline worker dressed in light blue and with jet black hair walked to the counter and spoke on the microphone.

-       Ladies and gentlemen, Air Jet has to announce the cancellation of this flight due to a serious event that has taken place. We will take care of accommodations and will help you get into a later flight to get to your destinations.

 People started to quarrel with her and, not talking to a microphone, visibly tired and fed up by passenger’s attitude, she said:

-       A man committed suicide. He, somehow, got to the building above this gate and  jumped. He landed… he landed on the plane.

 Everyone was now silent and the some of them where walking towards the window. Although far to have a good look, I was sure I had seen correctly. The man that killed himself had been talking to me some hours earlier