TL2 – Dayze Later – Roma – Montpellier – Nice

Last you all heard was the beginnings of the description of the harrowing Heathrow event, whereby weary traveler with too many clothes on navigates the reverse path from the bus to terminal 5 back to the parked plane where my passport hopefully was located.  What should’ve taken 25 mins took another 3 hours, but never mind.. to be continued when I have more time.  Suffice to say, going forward in the airport maze is far easier than going backward.  Re-tracing steps with a ball of string or breadcrumbs might have helped, but still i am unsure of this part.

I did actually make my plane to Fiumicino airport, Rome and settled down for a week of conference there with an audience of about 1000 of my international colleagues.  Here are views of the local scenery about 20 mins east of Fiumicino.

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But of course it’s the streets of Rome that beckon out of the hotel and down to the city.  Get lost in the via. s. dorotea… its a small street of course on the other side of the river, but a place to sit down in a small local space with local band and music.

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Outside of course it was cooling down rapidly and we were distracted by low flying helicopter and even lower flying drones, warded off by the Polizia cars and tape barriers, protecting their pubic and the filmmakers for a Roman James Bond film.

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Some days later I found a nice restaurant down at the end of the Corso and hang a right at the Piazza di Spagna, with this beautiful nameplate in the wall.

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I think I had a drink there, but cannot be certain, certainly dropped in with my friends to someplace near there anyway.

I had planned to spend more time in the city, however duty calls, and Saturday was spent working in the hotel room and lobby bar.  Sunday flew from Fiumicino out to Montpellier, France. Avis pickup in the misty rain, and fun with Nellie at the desk who laughed everytime I tried to say something in French, and set the navigator to French as well.  Didn’t get lost too many times and my french vocab of road rules and instructions has improved dramatically without further road incident.  Drove around 3 hours out to Nice where more meetings will be held for the first few days this week.

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TL1 – Day 10 – Before Stepping off the plane….

There he was standing their impatiently near his girlfriend, crushed into a forward seat that wasn’t his by the passing passengers.  So easy to leave, so hard to go back.

‘I know, I know, Now we’ll have to wait till they all get off.’ he said.

‘I guess you left it behind, getting my bag down’, she said

I knew exactly what he was hanging back for.  It had to be his, that black vinyl jacket lying on seat 24c, down the back of the plane routing from London to Rome.  We’d just had a rough landing at Fumicino with perhaps some cross wind.  People get stressed getting out of planes and forget stuff.  I remember looking at the jacket and asking a passenger, last one to leave row 24 ‘Is that your’s’.  ‘No it’s not mine!’ she said.  Interesting short comment I thought.

So I passed the guy thinking, ‘thank God you remembered mate’, or was it his girlfriend who reminded him.  Certainly having someone with you helps when you’re packing up coats, phones, ipads, laptops, books and other paraphernalia in a hurry, whil lugging down bags from the overhead bins.  Easy to do… leave something behind.  Wish I had myself, remembered….

Much earlier that same day, I’d been on a different plane, different airline, different row, same coat, phone, jacket, bags etc. Our transatlantic flight landed in Heathrow a bit early with tons of time before having to cross over to Terminal 5.  The plane to Rome was due to leave just before 1pm that day, therefore several hours available.

The stress of Heathrow is manifest, both in passengers and ground staff of all varieties.  The uniform and walkie talkie, the nicely colour coded uniforms, the conveyor belts underground and the seemingly endless maze of escalators, stairs, lifts and corridors.  There’s probably a good reason why there are multi-faith prayer rooms, but I’ve not often been inside and did sometimes wonder from time to time whether anyone actually visited them.  I’m sure eventually though, perhaps Yoga room might be added to de-stress at times of high stress at large international airports.

You know before getting off a plane at Heathrow that there will be queues to get off, get on, get through security, catch a bus, as you travel from Terminal to Terminal.  To help with all that – the signs are colored Purple.  ‘Flight Connections’ in purple all over the place.  Yellow signs for ‘Gates’ etc.

You kind of know before catching that bus to T5 that its a long way off. ‘Better check I have everything’. Coat check, Bag Check, Phone – …… Check, Oh.. they need to see my boarding pass here, to catch the bus, .. bad check.  Boarding pass and passport not found.  Stress alarm.

After check and re-check of numerous pockets and places you haven’t put a passport in for many years, comes a realization that – It has to be on the plane. – the international flight I just left.

Some airports are super easy to backtrack.  Not Heathrow.

which terminal did i land at ?  Which Gate ? … I’ve walked half an hour already through the purple haze of flight connections.  I have to get back there.  I started back up the stairs with my bags where the only escalators were coming downward and now the clock WAS ticking.

To be continued….

TL2 – Day 5 – Voir Dire – The Jury Chosen – The location established – Boston

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Boston District Court – Boston Harbour

There’s been countless articles and discussions relating to the Boston Marathon case, not only in the newspapers, but also the video media.  The determination of the location of the trial has been the subject of many of them.  The judges have a view to gaze out on in the icy Boston harbour as they get started this week on the Boston Marathon trial.  I had taken the opportunity to get a water taxi back and forth on the Boston Harbour that quiet Sunday morning, looking for something at a CVS which was closed, due to being in the Financial district, however the Water Taxi operator cum tour guide pointed out a few of the city’s great landmarks.  This was one of them of particular relevance to the population and indeed the city, state and country this week. There must be some, breathing a sigh of some relief, and yet those looking at mounting yet another appeal to the  impartiality of the jury in such a high profile case.

Yet Boston is no stranger to high profile cases and looking at the building, the thought on this icy calm day was, in the end the Boston Marathon Bomber’s fate, may well be determined here.