I woke up a few minutes after 3 AM. My wife couldn’t sleep so she had been up for most of the night and luckily noticed that my alarm didn’t go of when it was supposed to. Apparently Saturday is not a weekday and I am an idiot.
Some final packing, hugs and kisses and a taxi ride later, I was in the central station of Västerås. I was too early, as always. Waiting there in the cold morning wind. It looked pretty though. I remember thinking about the times I had to catch this bus or a early train during the winter and became happier. There was a sunrise and it was warm enough just to wear a sweater.
The bus ride was quite uneventful. I was very tired but couldn’t sleep. I didn’t even feel like listening to anything. I was just sitting there staring. I was heading towards a continent I had never been to and a bit scared. Due to the early hour my stomach felt quite unpleasant and a woman who had motion sickness throughout the trip didn’t make it feel better. I ate the sandwich my wife packed for me and soon enough I was at the airport.
Arlanda was full of people, mostly families heading for vacation so it took some time to get through all the security. It was actually quite nice to see the happy families heading for summer vacation together. I quite like the families in Sweden. There was one sitting in front of me in the plane – mother, father and two daughters. One was very much a Swede, blond with long hair and a copy of “Jane Eyre” in her hand. The other seemed to be adopted. She had dark short hair and a more Asian look. She had a fantasy novel in her hand. I don’t know why I noticed. It just seemed like such a nice family, heading for a vacation, enjoying themselves. I thought about my trip and wished for something similar – would have been amazing to be with my wife and chat on the plane. I was however alone and heading for a conference, not a vacation.
Heathrow was a short stop and before I knew it, I was on a Trans-Atlantic flight and had more than 10 hours of waiting in front of me. I find it quite funny how travelling with a plane seems to be mostly about waiting. Waiting in ques, waiting in gates, waiting to take off, waiting to land, Many say that the pleasure is in the journey but I can understand that more while travelling by car, train, boat or hiking. With a plane, you are in a mostly closed box, waiting.
Talking about waiting, I watched two long movies and several shorter TV-shows on the flight, The movies – “Her” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” – were both really cool and made me analyze my journey much more. I thought about my life and how I should take more pleasure in the little things. I also thought about the fact that I cant remember when I sat on my ass for more than 10 hours straight, taking only a few short toilet brakes.
The flight took longer than it should have and there was a danger that in Houston, I would miss my flight. When I landed I had about 45 minutes to pick up my baggage, get through customs, TSA, change the terminal via train and get to my gate. I don’t know how – the queues were very long and they had already booked my another flight for the next morning – but I made it.
I was wearing my Iron Maiden shirt and have never gotten so much attention than in USA. I was asked what my favorite songs are by an older gentleman who seemed to be from Texas. I was also complimented by a worker at Albuquerque airport.
The Americans just seem very friendly and open – so enjoyable. On my flight from Houston to Albuquerque I talked to many of the people around me and everyone seemed to talk to the people sitting next to them – a nice change from Sweden where people put a bag next to them on the bus just to keep people from sitting next to them.
Long story short, I am currently in a nice hotel in Albuquerque, it’s 5:57 and since i couldn’t really sleep, I am sitting here and writing this mess. I arrived quite late and was very tired so I went through a convenient store, ate some chicken and salad and went to sleep. Today I will be heading to Santa Fe, but that’s another post.