Amsterdam Adventure Day 1

When you're on an overnight flight, it's hard to know when the day begins and when it ends. Did it begin when you wake up or when you get to the airport? Does it end when the flight lands at your final destination or do we go by clock time? I'm pondering. But it probably doesn't matter. Exhaustion is the order of the day, regardless of when you think it begins or ends.

Sitting in the gate area waiting for the first leg of my flight to Amsterdam, I think about a couple universal airport experiences.

First, patience. Flying seems designed to test the patience of everyone flying away, no matter where they're going or which cabin they're in. Checking in required standing in line for about 20 minutes until staff from the airline showed up at the desk. Then the line moved with some alacrity. Next up: security. I've been fortunate to have "TSA Pre" show up on my boarding passes the last few times I've flown. Still it's a wait to get through the expedited line. How come the fast lane has more people than the other line? Another TSA mystery.

So I get to keep my jacket and shoes on. My belt is looped around my waist. And my pockets aren't completely empty. I'm ready to step through the metal detector. I'm through. But wait, an alarm is ringing. Seems I've been randomly selected to go through the x-ray, hands over head, feel like a felon machine. Now I have to take off my coat, empty my pockets, and take my place in the machine, watch the bar whip around, and wonder how many minutes were taken off of my life by the radiation pulse that just went through me. But look on the bright side: I got to keep my shoes on. So now, it's just hanging out in the gate area for an hour or so until the flight starts boarding. But wait, there's no plane here yet and now it's 40 minutes to an on-time departure. Perhaps another exercise in patience is in the offing.

Second, food. At DTW in Detroit, there are two terminals, North and McNamara. North is what remains of the bad old days of DTW. It's been upgraded but is still the poor step-child to McNamara. That means that the eating options are way lower on the food chain, so to speak. A couple of Coffee Beanery shops, a McDonalds, and a couple of look-alike sit-down places. None of it looked appealing, even by the very low standards of airport food. Seems like I heard about a celebrity chef who has opened a gourmet restaurant in an airport but I gotta believe that's an urban myth. Much more likely that someone would find that fried rat in multiple eateries around here. So I'm glad that I have some good cheese stashed in my carry-on. It's from the cheese shop in Fishtown in Leland and along with some crackers, I have a veritable feast. All that's missing is the wine. Not that there are any carry-out wine shops around here, but I'm abstaining until I disembark at Schiphol Airport and get to my apartment in Amsterdam.

So, here's hoping my plane shows up soon, and we're able to get to Toronto in enough time for me to catch the red-eye to Amsterdam.


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