Heathrow Revisited

Diogenes's picture

I absolutely dreaded coming back through Heathrow because if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong at Heathrow. When they opened the new Terminal 5 not long ago so much luggage was lost they had to sent it to the Italians to get it sorted.

But here we are. As far as I can tell, we landed on time and with minimum fuss. Off the plane, down some stairs and on to a waiting bus. The bus departs soon after we seat ourselves and a TV announces that we will be at terminal 1 in seven minutes. We are. We breeze through security. No queues. Security staff are pleasant and speak perfect english. I don't even have to remove the laptop or charger from the backpack.

We have a cup of coffee. I have this great smoked salmon and crayfish salad while we are waiting, did not care for the beet salad prison food served on the plane. Everything is on sale here. The £ is $1.70 CDN and almost at par with the Euro. I'm astonished. I buy a pair of Reluctant Traveler shoes, the kind that will handle a walk in the park in 100km winds after freezing rain. The shoes are a great price!

The world is upside down. I am enjoying Heathrow, I am buying stuff in London at the airport and it's a great deal. I am impressed with the efficiency and experience of this airport. Have I died? Perhaps this is limbo?

But our connecting flight to Amsterdam leaves on time. We are in row one so we are the last to get on and the FIRST to get off. We breeze through customs. All of our luggage arrives. Amsterdam is -5°C and sunny with no wind. This is the best weather we have seen in two weeks. Life is good, but upside down.

Back at our flat, the sound of fireworks puncture the foggy winter mist. It is cold in our flat cause we turned off the heat before we left. We crank open the valves in every room. It still takes 4 hours before it's comfortable.

MLW develops this sudden gift for getting things to stop working. First it was her desktop computer. Completely dead; I'm guessing the power supply is gone. Next her key gets stuck in the lock in the side door. I get the key out, squirt in some oil, and try my key. It gets stuck too. So we start using the only the front door. Now both the front and side door locks are kapot (great dutch word). We, and all our neighbours, must use the door at the other end of the building for entry.

And it was comical when our battery powered pepper grinder fell apart in her dinner plate that evening. Since the year is not over yet, I give a nervous laugh.

December 31

Our neighbourhood sounds like the Gaza strip without the sirens. It all started around 10:00 this morning. You don't see much but you hear it all over. The weather is cool and calm, a nice hoar frost on the trees.

I cycle into town and buy a new power supply for the desktop, but they don't stock my type of memory anymore. I'm too young for Alzheimer's I say. They give me a web site that can help.

On the way home I detour onto Teresiastraat hoping to find a place that sells vuurwerken. I am in luck. They are doing a booming business, sold out on most items. I buy a few rocket-on-a-stick thingys. A couple of them look like microphones to some cheap karoke machine. A truck pulls up with a new shipments as I leave the store. With fireworks, timing is everything.

I'm getting excited. This is my first New Years Eve in Holland.