Published: February 8th 2008February 8th 2008
Well I promised I would do this for the benefits of the folks back home so here I am.
I suppose it would be necessary to answer some basic questions about my trip and in doing so would give me an opportunity to remember how I came to this place on the other side of the world.
I worked up until the day I left which left me little time to pack. I had purchased a large north face backpack, the key being that it was not a top loading bag, which I have used before, and have found particularly tedious in terms of packing and unpacking. I brought my camera, and assortment of sharp and utilitarian objects, a compression bag full of t-shirts and various undergarments, several pairs of shorts and jeans. The bag weighed in at about 55 pounds (although I am trying to become fluent in kilograms, I think its about 23) and made for moving in and out of doors fairly difficult.
Mother and grandmother dropped me off at the Springfield train station at about 5 am (though I drove because of a slight miscommunication or conspiracy depending on how you look at it) and I boarded the train bound for NYC, Penn Station.
I slept on and off on the train as it made its way through CT and its eventual end at Penn. Getting off at Penn station I decided to step out and see NYC for a bit before being trapped in JFK for several hours. NYC is truly a massive undertaking when you are lugging the equivalent of a small child stuffed in a duffel bag over your shoulder. After an hour or so I decided it was time to board the blue line bound for JFK.
You gotta look hard on the subway when you are carrying such things as a massive bag and a backpack. I think its a prerequisite for riding the subway and I had no problems with that. I wasn't quite sure which way I was going but soon I realized that the blue line ends in both directions at the shuttle to JFK anyway.
Once at the airport I had the luck of being the only person in the place without roll away luggage which added to the spectacle. One TSA employee was astounded by the size of my backpack and upon telling him the weight we both had to laugh.
I boarded the plane at 1800 and made my way to my seat. Austria Air had extremely tall stewardesses with blonde hair. I fell asleep in my seat before take off.
I awoke about an hour later and looked out the window and realized that we had not taken off yet... I looked around and it came to my attention that Bostons GPS or some radio control had failed and we would be sitting there for an indefinite amount of time. Not really a problem unless you consider that this development would all but encompass my entire layover in Vienna.
Fuck. Some classic American idiots where making general fools of themselves and making stupid remarks about kicking the pilot or something to that effect. Given any other situation I think I might've said something but these were my cab mates for the next several hours so I sat back and endured the ignorance as it ate my brain. takeoff, people clapped, people always clap; they clapped again when we landed.
I ran. I now had 15 minutes to make my transfer in an airport that is connected only by little trams and staffed by very attractive women. I anxiously awaited my tram and tried not to look at a clock. I felt fairly certain that there was absolutely no chance that my bag would make the transfer as I felt I wasn't going to.
On the tram, thank god, three long minutes. Another security checkpoint... I am already in the Airport! I snapped my belt out, removed my change, my wallet, my phone. The bastard in front of me obviously was in no hurry as he didn't feel the need to do any of these things before the security check point. he made a big stink about removing his laptop from his carry on; I almost lost it. I dumped my things into that little plastic bin and jumped through the metal detector. It went off, from the lighter I had in my pocket. I got patted down, grabbed my belongings and started shoving them back into pockets on the hop as I was already almost a half hour late from the initial boarding call. As I ascended the staircase to gate 61 the two employees of Austria Air said my name and rushed me on the plane.
Cyprus is beautiful from the air, although from my side you could practically see Turkey looming in the distance trying to eat it up. two mountain ranges and water from a postcard. It felt like home with the sun shining. you could even make out the walled city of Nicosia as we made our approach. Touchdown, thank someone.
I was aware that there were other students around me but I decided against making friends yet. I sat by the turnstyle expecting never to see my bags emerge. Yet there it was, the first one out (I assume the last one in) ready to make its way back outside. As I grabbed it and made my way to the gate, I lifted my dark sunglasses off my face, past the duty free shop, and through the door labeled "Customs".
I showed my American passport and he glanced at me and told me to keep walking... I was free, twenty-three and in Cyprus.