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April 14, 2007

My Munich to Athens nightmare - part II

I started telling you yesterday about the horrendous journey I had from Munich to Athens, and left the story at the point where I was sitting in the departure gate at Munich, lukewarm can of beer in hand, already completely fraught.

And then the flight was delayed.

I wasn't so bothered, as I had plenty of time to make my connection in Athens, and in the end we were barely half-hour late. I'd specifically asked for an aisle seat, as I hate flying and hate feeling hemmed into the window or middle seats by strangers.

But when I got on I found my seat was occupied.

And the guy had no intention of moving, instead with a half-hearted gesture he motioned me towards an empty window seat a little along the way. In the end a stewardess had to intervene so that I could get my proper aisle seat.

About twenty minutes after take off, a poor little kid about two rows behind me was violently travel sick.

There was a massive commotion whilst it was all cleaned up, and obviously the smell wafted through the enclosed plane cabin.

By then I'd got my nose in my laptop, which is when the little boy in question, now running around the plane in just his wet vest and pants from where he'd been stripped and washed down after being sick, decided to come and stand by me and start a conversation in German about what I was doing on the computer.

It was just going to be one of those days.

20070413_athensairport We made up time and I landed in Athens with a couple of hours to spare until my connection to Chania.

Athens airport is quite weird if you are making a connection, because you end up directed through endless corridors, completely miss out passport control, and suddenly find yourself at the departure gates, beyond the point where there are many places to eat.

Previously I've had trouble using the wifi at the airport as you had to find a kiosk where you could by a scratch-card in order to access the OTE system, but they've swapped to T-Mobile. So I grabbed a couple of beers, and sat myself down on a bench to work on my recent "The ten things most likely to be on The Daily Express front page" article.

Getting work done was a race against time - I'd only purchased an hour's internet access, and even worse, the battery life on my laptop has deteriorated to the point that I wasn't sure it would last the hour. With about 4 minutes internet access left and 20 minutes battery life left I was struggling to get the article scheduled, when someone went through a security door behind me and set off the most piercing screeching alarm possible.

Everyone around me fled the noise and commotion, but I just had to stay there - I knew if I closed the laptop lid I wouldn't be able to get back online (T-Mobile count access in blocks of 10 minutes), so I just had to sit there and persevere with my work, watching my access time tick down, the battery indicator giving up the ghost, with a wailing siren adding to my general panic about getting it all finished.

I must have looked like a complete nutcase.

The flight to Chania is short, and although again I was delayed, it was thankfully uneventful, and it wasn't long until Claire and I were reunited after three long weeks apart.

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