When one of my friends spoke of it as HUGE, I thought how big it could really be! I did not get to see trains running inside yet, but going by the likes of it there’s little to doubt the veracity of this info! Frankfurt airport is definitely humongous; and any comparisons to the “dingy” Chennai “International” airport can only be considered as lunacy…
Yesterday in India (Chennai) and today in Germany – the contrast couldn’t be more striking! Though I haven’t come to hate anything about my hometown, my comparisons could easily be comprehended as likely loathe for sweet old Madras)
So let me look beyond comparisons and get to my travelogue. Yesterday was a day of many lessons for me. I realized that I was not just unprepared for living “on my own” but it also dawned to me as to how much I would miss my near ones; especially when your favorite “dosa with chutney” is a few hundred thousand kilometers away ;)!! Saying goodbyes can never be easy. Let me not dwell on this topic further, that I’d rather scare you away with an emotional outburst!
Though this wasn’t the first time in an airplane for me, the international part of it definitely was; and I hate too much formality (I mean customs etc). Anyways other than the glitch of dropping one of my baggage’s, due to overloading of emotions from my mom and wife (sic), at Chennai airport things “are going” okay.
The journey wasn’t really spectacular considering how crampy a ten hour economy class flight can get, but otherwise it was fine. I love window seats but not really next to the wing. But that’s exactly what I got. The noise was a bit disturbing while watching the movie (Kung Fu Panda) and the view of steel floating in mid-air was definitely not pleasant. Anyways, no point in complaining…
I can’t forget the first time I happened to glance at a foreign land during a pleasant Saturday morning. The plane landed earlier than scheduled time at Frankfurt and I now have a wait time of around 3 hours before I catch my connecting flight to Nürnberg.
Getting back to the first point in this journal, Frankfurt is definitely big. I initially couldn’t comprehend the length or breadth of this place, but after walking around for an hour and a half or so to reach the gate of my connecting flight I can’t agree more.
I got to see a lot of interesting things during this walk. Be it the half mile long conveyer belt that transports us through the gates or bubbling cute children running amok or the Ganesha statue in a sandwich shop of completely German speaking employees, this place is thriving with life and dynamism. I doubt if you can get to see people of so many races and countries in one single place. The airport staff are mild mannered and pleasant and are really helpful.
I am yet to come to terms with the currency (Euro) here. Exchanging my traveler’s cheque of around two thousand resulted in 85 EURO commission, which was highly indigestible. Here’s a tip to fellow ignorant travelers – “keep such exchanges to a low amount at airports. From what I hear banks and post offices are definitely lot cheaper when it comes to commission“. I guess there’s also the tough part of finding drinking water. One conversation went like this:
Me: “Excuse me! Can I get some water to drink please?”
Lady at counter: We only have beer sir. Which brand would it be?
Me: Not that. Drinking water!
LAC: Oh sorry sir; we don’t have it.
Me: Can you tell me where I can get it?
LAC (after a slight pause): At the bathroom, of course!
Me (after a few stunned seconds!!): Thank you!
I still don’t know whether she didn’t understand me or was trying to mock me! Another even interesting one highlighted the big problem I might have with language.
Me: Excuse me. Which way to gate A-02?
Airport Staff: Take the stairs that go down please!
Me: Thanks (leaves). (Coming back after a moment). Excuse me, what time should I board the flight (or something on similar lines)
Airport Staff: (An uncomfortable moment later) Take the stairs that go down please!
Obviously the language barrier is two-way!! 🙂
I got myself a calling card; useful in case you need to make international calls; otherwise not so necessary. It was slightly strange (and in some ways sad) to hear the voice of my dear ones thousands of kilometers away, but I think that’s how life works!
As I wait here watching a whole new culture and a completely fast paced society, I am in awe with this place and its people. I hope my wait for this long to get here is fruitful and this journey turns out to be as good as it promises to be.