Friday, February 6, 2009

back in the City from Spain

... and what a heck of a looong flight it was ~ slept very little on the journey which for me started in Rota early Wednesday morning by cleaning up everything a final time. I love seeing my apartment so clean and "empty" and I will return one day though not soon enough. Arriving at the Sevilla airport just before 8am, I had enough time to check in and relax, if that is possible in an airport that is filthy, dirty and so old the bench leather coverings are crusted and wrinkled, and the gate waiting areas have floor spill drops so old and so visible, I would be embarrassed to say I worked there. I thought about a complaint but know it would get the standardized form-letter complaint reply and nothing would be done. I've suggested and complained on previous occasions about poor service, airport workers allowing people to smoke within the airport and not saying anything, etc., but the spanish are accustomed to their lifestyle, and complaints or suggestions do not last long in the system.

Aboard the Sevilla to Barcelona flight, I was distressed after we took off and I didn't have my camera out and at the ready; the raindrops as it again poured as we took off were so beautiful upon the tiny cabin windows that I wished I could have recorded its slow movement across my window.... by time I did get out the camera, the raindrops were gone being high above the clouds and in Barcelona it wasn't even raining any longer. There my next segment was delayed due to heavy fog at Munich, which was a change from the usual Frankfurt. I dreaded returning to Germany as a passenger due to their double security checkpoints but was later pleasantly surprised when after finally arriving and moving fast to the next gate - which of course seemed to be miles and miles away - I didn't have to pass through any security checkpoints at all! Even as we were still taxiing to the Munich terminal, the PA system in the aircraft warned all travelers to hurry to their connecting flights as the airport security can be very slow and time-consuming.

Seen in the men's restrooms in the
Munich airport, a great airport when compared with the old and filthy Sevilla airport. Seems that the urinal designers thought ahead in an attempt to inprove the aim of those using these facilities. I've seen this before but was never able to get a picture and this time I was prepared! A few others saw me snapping pictures of the urinals and thought I was crazy till I pointed out to them it wasn't the urinal but the fly I was interested in... then the response was laughter.... and in an airport, who can't use a bit of laughter?

As soon as I arrived at the gate, I was boarded and after four others behind me followed, the cabin doors were closed and we took off inside a recently-delivered new A340-600 plane that was beautiful to relax and enjoy this 11-hour flight back to San Francisco!! Not only first- and business-class areas look nice but even the economy class area was a delight! Each and every seat in the aircraft had its own LED touch-screen media center that allowed passengers to view music videos, see a wide selection of movies, listen to over 10 styles of radio-system music, or even learn about the airline company! As a result, I watched a total of four on-demand movies throughout the long-journey, interrupted frequently by my getting the camera to snap away at the gorgeous sunset that lasted half of the long-haul flight and amazingly enough turned even more flaming red just as I thought the sunset would finally end after four hours! It turned out it was to end but as the flight route took us from Germany to the Americas on a northwestern curve taking us over the Norwegian Sea, Iceland, Greenland, then just north of Hudson Bay then toward Vancouver Island, BC..... it seems when the plane finally took its downward curve just as I saw the sunset colors fading; remembering in San Francisco a month ago, the bearing angle of the sunset then was about 240-degrees, so when we turned southwesternly, according to the visual map of our route, we turned toward the sun and that accounted for it glowing once again to finally end later after six hours!!!
Amazingly enough, the last two hours were the most colorful as the horizon burned with an intense flaming-red color. I believe this is the very first time I have seen such a sunset lasting more than three-hours, plus no sunrise! In fact, I saw two sunsets on this flight!!

The movies I saw were Eagle Eye which I've wanted to see but hate SF theaters, Ghost Town which I thought was stupid but cried during the last 15mins of the movie, Vicky Christina Barcelona, and Nights In Rodanthe - an excellent movie which I am glad I watched after seeing it starred Richard Gere and Diane Lane. I also cried during the last 10mins of Nights In Rodanthe for the sad ending though it ended on a happier note....

It seems strange to be back in the City, and in a place where I have a car as I had to walk during my month in Spain which I don't mind at all if I were wearing the proper shoes for that type of activity. Even with the high amount of walking, unfortunately I gained weight instead of losing ~ I blame all that great olive oil in the spanish food eaten out in town, and cooking at home ~ the first time ever I've gained instead of lost weight in my trips to Spain. Perhaps all I really need to do is stop eating enough for four or five persons at a sitting!! hahahahaaaa

sigh.....

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