Airports, planes and hotels

Development Policy27 Sep 2009Enrique Mendizabal

After 5 years and close to 300 flights I am beginning to recognise people on planes. I wonder if airlines could just sit us together and give us name tags so that we could get started with the workshops before landing -wherever it is that we are going this time. It would give us something else to think about besides obsessing with the detail of the trip: laptop in or out? Shoes? No? Ok? Why is he taking so long to get through? Oh, come on, no liquids, no liquids, can’t you read? Lounge newspapers for the flight in case the onboard entertainment system is not working. Board quickly. Don’t forget ‘seat essentials’: book, notebook, pen, ipod, headphones, magazines and newspapers. Hope for empty seat next to you. Pray for thin passenger. Plan your movies for the flight. Drinks? Chicken or beef? Queue for the toilet. Peak into business class and silently hate them. Try to sleep. Work. Tray to sleep but feel guilty for not working. Turn off ipod and other electronics –remember that mobile is still on somewhere in your backpack. Land. Why do people get up before they are supposed to? Do they not know by now? Run to immigration to avoid the crowds. Explain why you are there for only a few days. Researcher. Workshop. Yes, I have a return ticket. Get on taxi to hotel. Ask about the situation in the country –and weather. Learn a couple of words: how do you say ‘thank you’? How do you say ‘good bye’? Check-in. Can i get wireless in my room? No? Where? In the lobby? Find room. Turn on the TV and find the BBC World. Shower. Run downstairs and check email.