The cold metal doors of the train separating Paul and I shut in front of my face and his image disappeared as the train sped from the station. I opted to stand the 25 minutes on way to the airport, I have this 11 hour flight to sit. Silence of seven other passengers unbroken by laughter or conversation filled the train cabin and allowed me the peace to absorb the last I’d see of Germany. Rusty railroad tracks, brick train stations, timbered houses and empty green fields were blurred by velocity and watery eyes.
One of the only positive things I can say about the Frankfurt International airport is that the train brings you right to the belly of the terminal, and I didn’t have too much of a struggle with my luggage. I would have liked to have bought one last bratwurst or pretzel, but just being in the airport made me want to throw up as I thought of creative ways to end my life in the event of complications.
Paul’s uncle came over this afternoon to borrow me his bathroom scale to weigh my luggage. I was surprised at its simplicity, because his uncle has one of the most expensive and sophisticated-chic apartments I’ve ever seen- Paul and I stopped for a visit earlier this week- His uncle isn’t at all pompous though…when we visited he ate spaghetti wearing an old and obnoxious yellow ‘Florida’ T-shirt in one of his many large antique filled rooms where the big windows bring in sunlight to shine upon the fancy furniture and elegant carpets.
Thats how I knew to expect to stuff my shirt again on this round 2 attempt to Costa Rica. My checked-in luggage was 1kg (2ish lbs) over, and my carry-on 5kg over, so when I got to the airport I made my chest a DD with clothes and books, and I made sure to be checked in by the young man, and not the woman who’s facial expressions made her out to be a real bitch. Dude let me pass no problem, never even weighing the carry on bag.
Being a DD is entertaining, but a bit hard on the back so I waited till I turned the corner and put everything back into my carry on suitcase and headed to the gate. I continued on with the normal airport procedures, passing by the passport check to going on to the customs and security. I had to walk forever to get there,…by that I mean a good 15 minutes down a dreary dull hallway till I was suddenly in front of the lines to wait to be checked. It was in a completely separate area, it didn’t even look like part of the airport much anymore, it looked like some sort of military control.
The same Germanic ogreish looking woman with broad shoulders and a manly haircut who barked at an elderly woman for not putting her passport in the X-ray tray- did a pat down on me…as if my tight pants could conceal weapons or crack cocaine. I was deemed ‘ok’ than allowed to be herded into a line that went directly to the C8 gate to board. The line lead to a attractive but terribly grumpy looking woman in an ugly airline suit who was collecting boarding tickets. There was a girl my age next to me, and I saw she had a Costa Rican passport, so in Spanish I asked if she had been to this airport before, or knew if they would weigh our carry on bags, I told her that I was almost 10lbs over, apparently she was too though. She didn’t know the answer, but kept me company as the wait dwindled down.
We were waiting essentially to be allowed in to the waiting area…a small space with a limited amount of seats that was closed off by an above waist glass fence. Security guards were on the outside pacing back and forth and directing passengers that were straying. The air was stale and the florence lights painful on the eyes. Lots of people were cramped into the area and forced to stand, and the those in line were hustled toward the space. The tican (Costa Rican) girl was a ahead of me, and behind a German-speakng woman. The woman was commanded to follow a tall and handsome black man who spoke a North-American English, and then so was the tican girl and then so was I.
I got really nervous especially when he led us to a scale.
I didn’t even wait to be told to do anything, as quickly as I could, I turned around out of sight while the man spoke to the woman. I hurried to unbutton my top and shoved my book of Borges short-fictions into my bra and trying to even everything out with random shirts and skirts. I became a DD again, and covered my lumpy boobs with a shawl, to make it look somewhat normal. I crammed my laptop, and both film and digital cameras ( at least 8 lbs combined) in my new and beautiful hippy purse Tina bought for me as an early birthday gift ((which by the way I love. Thanks so much…and yes I did toss the old shitty one already!))
I turned back around and the woman was waiting on the side next to a computer and a -‘cash register’ of sorts. It was the tica’s turn. She never even tried to take anything out, and I heard him say ‘100’ to her,..she looked panicked and then he turned and looked at me told me I was fine.
I wanted to stay and help the girl….but I didn’t want him to notice my chest and walked as far away as I could. I absolutely could not afford a weight fee…and leaving a digital camera/ macbook behind is not an option. So I sat in the horrible waiting area like an animal feeling a bit treated like an animal watching the sweet girl make a few phone calls and pace back and forth and dig through her stuff. I sat and talked with a Dominican woman who volunteered to tell me she was heading home because her mother is dying. I told her I’ve never seen anything or been treated as badly as I have in Frankfurt, and she agreed with me.
Now i’ve been sitting here next to Carla. She’s from Honduras, sleeping right now. Her arm is over the arm rest and about 90% of me wants to move my arm over so I don’t have to touch her, but the other 10% fears that if I do she’ll slowly inch her way deeper into my personal space.
“So do you like to drink and get drunk?” she asks me as we sip complimentary vodka-orange juices.
I’ll I said was “uh” and she answers, “yeah me too”.
She was born in 78. She showed me her passport. After 30 minutes I already knew quite about her….she’s been living in Barcelona caring for an old woman for the past 5 years, her ex-husband is Costa-Rican but left her for another woman but she says life is more fun that way. Her 2 children live with her mother in Honduras, because they are old enough now. Her oldest is 16. She’s nice and situations can be quite difficult for people….you can’t meet a stranger and judge them without knowing how or why the ended up in what they are in.
You can judge them however when they move their legs under your seat though. Damnit Carla. Atleast she moved her arm now. Just figured out where the headphone plugs are in the dark, the movie ‘Descendants’ is on, and I’ve wanted to see it for a long time.
I can’t sleep,…its 2am in Germany, but we are ‘traveling backwards in time’ so the sun has been setting now for the past 5 hours, and its not often one gets the pleasure of enjoying a 5 hour sunset.