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quinta-feira, 7 de abril de 2011

Projeto Webthings Tour - episode 2: Airplane

If you missed the first episode, don't worry. You can understand this one no problem, however if you wanna check the first one, just click here.

August 2010, somewhere in the sky

As soon as I got into the plane, the first thing I thought was “holly shit, this is much smaller than I believed it would be, fuck” (yeah, I think with bad language, I know).

I walked the corridors, saying “excuse me” here, “excuse me” there, since I’m very polite outside of my own head, and then I found my seat. I knew where it was because the papers of the ticket had the model of the plane, so I searched on the Internet the seat map for that airplane. Many sites have this information, like this one, or this, or this. Normally this is used by people buying a flying ticket when they want to choose, by the number of the chair, where they will sit. In my case, however, it was just something like a neuroses mixed with curiosity and these things. My ticket was bought by my company, so I didn’t knew if I was going to sit close to the window, to the corridor or maybe, I don’t know, over the wing (what would be fun, but no safe).

When I found my chair, I took this picture.

The little bag has foam to the headphones and underneath there is another bag with a small pillow and a blanket which looked like a towel. There was also some safety informative papers which I think they could come with a card written “look, I don’t want to spoil your fun or say this airplane is going to crash, ‘kay? But, shit happens, so, you need to know this, ‘kay?”.

Based on the research I did in the Internet, specially to international flights, on the back of the seat in front of yours, there is a media device to you, in this device you can watch movies, documentaries, listen to some music, check where the airplane is on his route and other things. Unfortunately this airplane had no such technological artifact. It had only some 14 inches televisions attached to the ceiling. To listen to the sound of the TV you had to plug the headphones in your chair and there you could control volume, choose the audio channel to select the language of what was on, or listen some music.

The small TV not only was not very good to see because of the size, the position and the number of then, but it had nothing really interesting on it. The most interesting thing was a episode of that old Goofy cartoon (this one). Oh, and it just had something on for the first hours, than it was only a screen showing the elapsed time of the flight and where we were in a map. In other words, if there was no DS, or my mp3 with many podcasts, that would be a very complicated 12 hours trip. Really. So, you better consider take with you something to do, even if your flight has that media device thing with many movies and all that, there is nothing to assure you that even this way you will be distracted and having fun.

My colleague sat 4 chairs behind me. At my left side I had the corridor, at my right side I had a chair, than another one, than the window. With that my habit of always be interested in people stories, I ended up talking a little with the people beside me.

One was a Brazilian woman, daughter of a Japanese woman and an Italian man. She said she was going to Frankfurt, there to Hamburg and then do Kiev where she was going to work in one of those cruise ships. That was not her first time doing that. She used to do go, work for a few months than return to her mother’s house in Brazil or to her father’s house in Italia. She was 27.

She told a story about a Spanish guy she met in one of these cruise ships. He was there to work, just like her. They end up together during the time he was there and later she went to Spain to visit him. To put it short, he didn’t wanted what she wanted and as easy as it was made it was unmade. When she said it happened about 1 year before I kind understood why she seemed to have around her something like “let’s do it again, it will be fun, just like it was one day, let’s go, ok?”, as if she was pushing herself to do her travels again. I don’t know, I think what happened changed her “routine” of making these travels and let time keep going while she was trying to find out what she wanted to do with her life or maybe until a charming prince appear.

I believe sometimes we let the moment take or reason away and then we see just what we want to see in one attempt to make real something that we want to be real. It should be like shit to go to another country, filled with expectations, to meet someone just to hear that the person doesn't want anything anymore. Well, I hope she had a good time in Kiev this year.

The other person close to me, the one who sat close to the window, was a old lady who became my friend because I got and put back her heavy bag in the bag compartment over the seats many times. She needed to get the bag all the time to take some medicine, or catch a blouse, or whatever. But, before I talk about what I talked to her, allow me to reproduce what she said when the girl finished her story about the guy from Spain: “Well, my dear, there is a son of a bitch in everywhere”. hahahaha

She was a old lady from Rio Grande do Sul (a state in the south of Brazil) and was going to Latvia. Spread around the airplane were her older sister, her older son, the wife of this son and her grandson who puked during the trip (yeah \o/!). She was born in Latvia and that was the first time she was going back, since she escaped along with her family to Brazil, because of the communism, when she was 12.The objective of her trip was try to visit the house where they used to live and find relatives.

She had 72 years old, could not carry her own luggage, she had no mp3 with podcasts, no portable game, she was doing a trip of more than 20 hours, going across airports and train stations around the world, to meet again her past in a distant country, knowing how small her chances to succeed were and she didn't care about the fact that most of the people would say that was madness.

It is weird to think about her motivation. What see all that places again could bring to her? And even that thing about the relatives, she is far away with no contact for so many years and now she has other relatives and friends, why this need to meet them again? I think logic does not explain this kind of feelings all the time. I have myself one example.

A few days ago people who studied with me when I was 13 fond me in Facebook. They want to make a class reunion. By all the shit I write here and other things that can be perceived here and there, I think it is possible to find out that I was not “the popular big boy” or something, I was much more something like a weird nerd who seemed to be far away, full of ideas and very often saying something that would sound much more stupid than it actually was.

I thought about going just to hear the story of the people, but just by taking a look at their profiles and remembering who I was, how the things were and who I’m today and how things are right now, I decided that if they make another reunion 10 years from now I may go, but today, no way. I think the stories I wanna hear are still not there. And I really don’t think I’m myself a story to tell, or something, despite all the shit I do and the crazy things I put myself into.

But it is funny because I was born in another city and a lived there until I was 10. Some days ago I was searching for an address in Google Maps and I ended up close to to the place where I used to live. I lost myself some minutes seeing some of the streets and I really felt like to go back to see what is left, to see what have changed, my old school and these kind of things. Maybe the feeling the old lady had was similar, but of course in a much bigger scale, since she escaped and not to just another city, but to another country.

And let’s continue.

About the “experience of flying”, we had some turbulence and even moments when the pilot asked for the crew to sit. I don’t think I have much experience to judge, but I think it’s normal to have some turbulence. The legend says that if no one from the crew is crying, then you will survive. They didn’t cried and I’m alive. The legend remains. *drums

Since it was a long flight and most of the time during the night, at some moment almost everybody was sleeping, they even turn the lights off. During the night it can get a little cold and I saw that most of the people where using that blanket that looked like a towel.

When I went to the toilet, it was already morning, close to the end of the flight, I took these picture.

Down there is somewhere between Paris and Frankfurt.

About the food, if you are one of those people hard to please, I’m sorry, but the problem is you. As long as you present your self as someone hard to please it will be indeed very hard to please you, ok? The food was ok, very German, with meat even in the salad and a apple juice that I didn’t knew at that point, but I was going to drink a lot in the next months. The weird thing was before they bring the food, they came asking if I wanted a “hot towel”. I had no idea what they were up to. “What do you mean by hot towel? Is it some code I should understand? Fuck, what now?”, then I got the towel, since that was one of that questions that people don’t really expect you to say no and just give you before you say something. Then, using the primate instinct (monkey sees, monkey does) watching what the other people were doing I could understand that it was used to “clean your hands” before the meal. Simple like that. I bet no guide trip talks about it, right? hehehe

Just a little extra, the air company was German, so the crew was able to speak only English or German. Usually they speak the language of the country of the air company and also English.

I left Brazil at 6 P.M. of a Friday. I arrived in Germany at Saturday at what was 6 A.M. in Brazil and 11 A.M. there. Following the signs me and my colleague found the place where they check your passport and visa. Then, still following the signs, we found the place to collect the luggage, is quite easy they have a treadmill to each flight you just have to check on the panel where is the treadmill for your flight and than wait to your bag to show up. It is good to have here the papers you get when you dispatch your luggage, at the check-in. The main tip here, like a friend of mine says, is to follow the signs, they may make you walk a lot but they never lie. If anything goes wrong, talk to the people, ask, communicate, don’t be such a creep. My flight had no connections, but if yours have you just need to worry with your luggage at the final destination, not when doing a connection.

And then, we found the exit, the taxi driver who supposed to pick us up and speeding up to 145km/h, something like 90 mph (as you can see in the picture), we went to that which would be our home for the next 4 months and half.

End of episode 2.