Boarding started at 00:30, and everything was normal – I took my seat, did up my belt, stuck on my eye mask and fell deep asleep. I’d love to tell you a lot about the flight, but honestly… I woke up 30 minutes before landing, when they turned the lights back on. The lady next to me commented that “you slept like a baby” – I had managed to sleep for almost 5 hours non stop. My flight route was: Lima – Houston – Chicago – Frankfurt – Gothenburg.
When we landed in Houston, I made my way to the next gate. My boarding pass was flagged up as TSA-PRE which means I should get the expedited security process, but on connecting flights in Houston there was no TSA-PRE line so I had to join the normal security line and go through the usual TSA rubbish of taking shoes off, emptying laptops out, etc.
I had a while to kill in Houston and even though it was only 7am local time, I stopped in at a diner in the terminal and ordered a veggie burger and a milkshake. I was trying to shift my body back into European time, so eating a lunch sized meal at breakfast is part of the process. I had actually been craving french fries and a veggie burger for a few days (the food in Peru was amazing, but always very healthy… sometimes you need to cheat a bit!).
Once I got to the gate, they announced that the plane was “still in the hanger” and that the “super” machines they use to transport them aren’t to super, because 2 of them had broken down and therefore we would be delayed departing out of Houston. I was freaking out because I had a 1:09 connection in Houston and the lady at the gate looked sympathetic but was unable to do anything until we started boarding, by which time it was too late. Luckily Chicago is a busy airport so if I missed my german connection i’m sure there would be another possible route.
As it happens, I slept almost all of the Houston-Chicago flight as well, waking just before landing again. I wish I could write a manual for how I do it, because i’m sure everyone would like to be able to do this – but I have no idea. I think it’s a combination of being on far too many planes, and having a small body.
Knowing Chicago well, I was sad to see we arrived in the B gates and my connecting flight was departing from C…. this meant I had to tackle THE TUNNEL. If you’ve been to Chicago, you’ll know what I mean. It’s a crazy underground tunnel which passes right under the jetway between the two terminals, and is decorated in horrible neon sculptures. I RAN from B14 to C10, literally sprinting, and was pleased to make it to the gate before they started boarding the last group… I sat down in my seat, wondering if someone was also running with my bag.
We arrived early in Frankfurt, at 5:15am. I have been to Frankfurt well over 30 times this year, and made it extremely quickly through immigration and into the executive lounge. Life was starting to feel a bit more normal now – croissant, coffee, yoghurt and familiar surroundings.
I headed to the gate a little early to enquire about my bag… had it made it? I was told by the gate assistant that it had, and they were loading it onto the plane as we spoke. Phew! That would have been a frustrating end to the holiday, albeit an all too familiar situation for me. Once we boarded the plane, I was surprised by just how quiet the flight was…. I guess a 7am departure from Frankfurt on a Monday isn’t a popular flight to Sweden.
On the last leg, I finished reading The Book Thief, which was a really well written and touching storyline. I need to try and see the movie now, since it really intrigues me how you can create a movie covering such a broad timeline in a teenage life.
Landing in Gothenburg, I reflected that i’d last seen a bed at 7am two days before (this was now Monday morning, I had woken up on Saturday in Lima). Thank god I can sleep on planes! It had somehow turned into Christmas time when we got to the terminal in Gothenburg, which kind of took me by surprise. I wasn’t able to enjoy that though, since I felt pretty gross, and desperate for a shower, which is exactly what I did as soon as I got home.
Home… the end of the journey.