Welcome to Munich Airport.


Well, the vacation is over, and it’s time to get to work. I’m out of Holland, waiting on my flight in Munich. Budapest, here I come! In the meantime, I’m charging my laptop, which is more complicated than it sounds.

A strange feature of the modern airport is the continual failure to place electrical anywhere near where you would want to use them. In three hours, my plane departs from Gate G-13 for Budapest. There are ten rows of seats at Gate G-13. Each row contains eight cushy, inviting seats. These seats aren’t even separated by armrests. I am laying across three of them, with my head pillowed on my backpack and my laptop in my lap.

Wait. Actually, no, I’m not. Because the nearest electrical outlet is a quarter mile away from those cushy seats, right next to the Camel Smoking Lounge, where about a dozen harried-looking men and women are chain-smoking as many cigarettes as they can between flights. (“This is a non-smoking flight. If you smoke in the bathroom, you will be fined. If you disable the smoke detector before doing so, you will be ejected.”)

So my laptop (and string of USB-driven electronic devices) is charging, but I smell like an ashtray. You win some, you lose some. I’m losing a little less than the Asian fellow who is sitting next to me, waiting for me to get done with the outlet. He’s a little closer to the door, and gets immersed in smoke any time someone enters or exits the Lounge. Honestly, I’m considering unplugging just out of pity. The guy is starting to look like a smoked salmon.

The other hazard of sitting here on the glossy tiles is the vehicular traffic, which is surprising both in its frequency and its variety. I was just passed by a woman riding a bicycle. Before that, there were several golf carts, a man on a motor scooter, a woman and a young child on a razor scooter, a pair of screaming teenage girls on a shopping cart, and just now there was a woman in Indian garb on something like an orange, three-wheeled Segway.

One of the golf carts stopped by me for thirty seconds so the driver, a matronly woman in Oktoberfest garb, could text on her iPhone 5. At that, I shared a glance with my Asian friend that said, ‘Goodness, that was strange.’

Well, at least that’s what my glance said. He hasn’t blinked in quite some time. He may have undergone tobacco-smoke petrification… and my laptop’s only half charged.

Welcome to Munich Airport. Next stop: Budapest.

P.S., I had to pay for WiFi for the first time since I’ve been in Europe. It was humiliating.