|I had my suspicions and they came true, returning the car at Santiago airport the guy pointed out two "picures" on the front fender, just left and right of the number plate. I knew they were there; I had noted them after I had the car washed a few days earlier. I came across them checking to see if the job was done well. "Some body must have backed up against my car trying to get out of a parking position", was my defence. Actually that could be true, but equally it could have been me that had done it at some point, I have lived in Paris after all. "You have to go to the police and have a report made", was his comment. Going back to Vina or Santiago to have a police report made up was not particularly what I wanted to do. Then it turned out that he meant the Carabinieri stationed just a hundred metres down the road in the airport perimeter and that he would come along to give me some assistance. That taken care of, I just had to pretend it had happened inside the last 24 hours, I was off the hook, it was now a matter for the car insurance.
Have to make a note somewhere about Row 10 in the Airbus A340-300. It is immediately behind the partition that seperates you from business class. I had 10F, right-hand window seat, probably the first seat reserved when I booked back in September. There is next to no leg room there, just the partition before you. The same partition has little holes for fastening a baby cot, very good for the young woman and her baby sitting in 10L. She of course had a lot to do with her baby, about 6 months old, and of course I tried to give her as much space as possible. Cramped in the corner not even able to simply straighten my legs, I was dreading the next 12 and a half hours of flight; deep vein trombose would have a field day.
It must be a gender thing: the first male steward came by about two hours into the flight (after three female ones that only had eyes for the baby) and asked if I wanted to move to an empty one at the other side of the plane. "Yes, please", I said, but I meant "I beg you". I tried not to sound too eager, because it might not seem so nice to the young woman. At check-in they had told me that the plane was fully booked, so an empty one and at the window to boot, was unexpected. The limited comfort of an economy class seat had never felt as luxurious as my new seat.
The new hall at Madrid's Barajas airport has opened just recently: on 5 February. The complex is vast and as often is the case in Spain, the architectural design is spectacular and the design of the restaurants and cafés is also remarkable (even the McDonald's looks good). Hall F at Paris Charles de Gaulle, certainly not a small affair, is dwarfed by the dimensions of this one. You arrive at the first of the two buildings, linked by an underground automated people mover. The flight and gate information is strangely absent here and if I had not already been checked in with an assigned gate, I would never have found out from what gate my plane was leaving and consequently what train to take.
The weather at Schiphol was, as expected, rainy and chilly, but then again, Olive was waiting and she was the opposite of all of that.