At Schiphol Amsterdam

Excerpt from my diary.

Date: Monday, June 3, 2013

Hello, you are not intended to be read by other people, unless I give them permission to do so. I don’t have my camera with me, and I haven’t got out of the airport till now, so I do not have many pictures for you today, but soon I will be flooding your pages with pictures.

I am sitting at the Amsterdam airport. It’s huge and it’s wonderful. There are so many things to see and do and watch inside the airport itself. I love the walkers here. I don’t know what they are called, and there is no internet right now to google it and write down the correct word, but I think you know what it means; it’s a conveyor made of escalator material. Everything here is in Dutch. Earlier in the morning I had gone to a library, which had lots of books. Sadly, all were in the local language which is beyond my understanding. There was free internet for sixty minutes, but I stopped after fifteen minutes, only to realise later that the time was not split and that I could never use the remaining forty-five!

The Amsterdam airport is huge. You can keep walking miles and miles, literally. There are bars, spas, food courts, and casinos. There is a huge place for kids to enjoy, and there are comfortable sofas at one particular place where I went. The entire checking-in process here is very fast. There are big windows, entire walls made of windows which add an aesthetic sense, and every second minute you can see an airbus, which is, to me, enthralling. The attendants and employees at the help desks are very polite and helpful, and the airport is well labeled so that you can figure things out on your own. People talk a lot here, which is a very interesting feature, because in most other airports where I’ve been, people tend to sit grumpy and serious, which makes the entire thing a very sad affair.

I have been sitting and waiting for the plane for a long time now. My flight landed here at seven in the morning, and my next flight is at one. I had earlier thought it would be convenient because I assumed wrongly that there would be many procedures involved in here; there were none. So here I am, sitting, waiting at the airport, with practically nothing to do. I am carrying ‘Best Kept Secret’ by Archer, but I lose interest now and then and close the book after every five minutes. I bought a coffee worth 3.30 Euros and it pained my heart for every single sip. People here do know English, so I do not face the problem of language barrier, which is lucky enough for me.

I think it is because of the waiting or connecting flight system (or maybe it’s just the way it’s followed here) but I wasn’t frisked at the security counter. I simply had to take off my belt and watch, and keep all electronic goods in a tray, including the earphones which my father gave me; they are a bit strange when you use them. The lady who sat beside me in the plane was quite talkative; she is a teacher and says she has a son of my age, may be a bit older than me. My previous flight was at one in the morning and landed at seven, though actually it was a ten hour flight; so they served food twice, and it was quite edible, so I do not feel hungry now. I took the coffee not because I wanted to drink something, but because I needed change for the tram which I will board once I land in Bremen.

It is supposed to be cold here, but I do not feel the need of a sweater. I had wanted ‘Inferno’ and ‘And the Mountains Echoed’, and my friend was kind enough to look for them on the internet and mail me the e-books. She did good, because I saw the same books here and was wishing to buy it, until I noticed they were a Dutch-translated version. I am excited about the trip. This is the first time I am abroad, and luckily, things are happening smooth enough for me; I cannot call back home though I can still send messages. I have a feeling my mother will be a bit tensed about me, but it’s only natural since this is the first time I have left for so far.

So far so good. I like the people who come and go around me, because everyone smiles at most of the others. I keep hearing murmurs of people in an unknown language. It may be Dutch, it may be something else, but I don’t care. The lady who was sitting with me in the plane had done a Major in Computer Science and was reading a biography of Steve Jobs; I think I want that book. There’s a flight which is going to arrive now, and people queue up. The cup of coffee that I bought is still beside me, only it’s empty. I feel lazy to get up and throw it in a bin; I have been travelling for almost thirty-six hours now and my legs are swelling. Somehow I don’t feel tired, and the jetlag doesn’t affect me. I am not sleepy, but soon I will once I reach my new home for the next two months.

The accent of the people here is very different; it’s not like us, and it isn’t like the British or the American either, and it’s funny to listen to them speak in English. The battery in my laptop is going to die soon, and so I will switch it off now. More when I get to Emden. I have to take a flight now, then a tram, and then a train, after which I will meet Mr Engelmann, my employer. The next two months are going to be fun, and quoting the lady beside me, “the best two months of my life”, though I hardly think that is true.

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