Monday, June 18, 2012

Brussels & Geneva

BRUSSELS - Waffles & Deportation
May 11, 2012

Part I: Waffles

I'm going to preface this post by admitting that the only reason this semi-counts, even as a faux-trip, is because I ate a waffle.  A Belgian waffle, to be more specific.

Luikse Waffle
On the way to Prague, I had a two-hour layover in Brussels.  I got acquainted with the airport and bought lunch since I had eaten my packed lunch back at Barajas for breakfast.  Arriving somewhat hungry in Brussels, I thought, "Could there be anything better to eat with just two short hours here than a waffle?"

When I purchased the luikse waffle, I figured it was probably just a waffle.  But I was wrong.  The dough was very dense and heavy, and it was served cold.  A light, sugary glaze coated the waffle...delicious!  I promise, I'm not just glorifying the waffle to justify writing about it.  It really was that good.

Part II: Deportation

Brussels Airport
No, not me.  Don't worry.  As I was about to board the plane in Brussels for Prague, a Brussels Airlines staff member informed me that there was a man on the plane, escorted by three police officers, and handcuffed to the seat because he was illegal in Belgium and being deported back to Armenia.  Since it wasn't really my business, they didn't give me any more details, but I'm guessing the guy did something fairly severe since he was handcuffed to the seat and had pretty tight security.  I was told to ignore him if he tried to get my or another passenger's attention. Naturally, I was seated in the row right in front of him and his escorts.  Lovely.  I had originally planned to snooze on that flight, but...yeah, not so much.  When we landed, the Belgian police told him to behave better for the Czech police so the Czech police wouldn't beat him.  I have no idea if that would really happen or not, but I grabbed my backpack and left them all behind.  Thus ends my eventful, albeit short, Belgian adventure.

[Insert 3 Days in Prague Here...The Actual Trip]

GENEVA - Chocolate, Alps, Watches 
May 15, 2012

Let's talk about efficient traveling and my three-hour stay in Geneva.  I ate Swiss chocolate, spoke a (very little) bit of French, saw the Swiss Alps, and shopped for a watch.  Let me explain.

I flew from Prague to Geneva on Swiss International Airlines, and am pleased to share that I actually enjoyed my flight.  Flying on Swiss Air actually makes me look forward to my upcoming transatlantic flight to the USA in July.

While aboard this 1.5-hour flight from Prague to Geneva, I was served a full lunch, and it didn't cost extra.  Munching on my chicken sandwich and sipping a Coke Light, I glanced out the window and smiled, noticing that we were cruising over the Alps.  Some of the mountain tops peaked through the bottom layer of clouds, which created a beautiful view that reminded me of all the Hercules, Zeus, and Mt. Olympus stories.  (Yes, I know that was ancient Greece not present-day Switzerland.)
Swiss Alps

The best part about flights like this is when you look down over the water and say, "Look, the clouds have shadows!"
Then you remember that's what shade is.
I probably should have taken the picture before taking a bite.
What can I say?  It's Swiss chocolate - I couldn't resist!
As the flight attendants came around to serve dessert, a single serving of Swiss chocolate, it occurred to me that this was a slight bit like those private helicopter tours you can take around Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon, in the sense that we were flying around (well, above) the land forms.  I know we were waaaay above the mountains and not that close at all, but it was still nice.  You can also see the Alps from the airport's windows, but you can't look down at them through a sunny break in the clouds.  The best part of this was that my connecting flight to Madrid was also on Swiss Air, so I got to do it all again.  There's a Sprüngli in the Geneva's airport, but I decided not to buy chocolate, in favor of shopping for a watch.

About an Hour Later

Swatch Store at Geneva Intl. Airport
Just chillin' in Geneva's airport debating whether or not I should buy a Swatch Watch.  Actually, this had been on my mind since I left Zurich in 2009 without one.  The problem is that the watch I liked best and thought was the most "Swatchy" had a face that was a bit over-sized for my wrist.  Also, the subtler colors looked more Dana-ish, but I preferred the brighter colors because they seemed more characteristic of the brand.  I was a bit concerned though that the brighter colored watches would clash with my outfits.  I decided not to buy it since I was talking myself out of it.  Maybe I'll reconsider before my Zurich connection in July.

10 Minutes Before Boarding

Bought the watch!  Well, here's how it really happened: Frantically called my fashion consultant (Mom), ran across the airport back to one of the Swatch stores, held up a few colors, cursed not having picture texting to send Mom a picture of the watches even though she was already looking them up online, selected the bright orange watch where you can see the gears, paid, and sprinted to the gate to board my flight to Madrid.  So excited!  Finally bought the watch I wanted!  The damage I can do to my wallet under a time constraint never ceases to amaze me.
Anytime, Swiss!

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