October 29, 2005

20 hours in Milan and ridiculousness of travelling – Part 1

While I'm busy procrastinating from doing more DIY (I've already literally melted a hack-saw blade already though so I'm feeling pretty happy) so I thought I'd just write a quick entry about my latest little excursion.

Monday night I flew to Milan for some training for work (on an automotive communications protocol if anyone's interested! I didn't think so…), landed at approximately 8pm after undergoing my usual embarrasing searches and things at Birmingham airport.

I am not suited to air travel, I love the act of flying and I will still fight for the window seat at the age of 21 (but then again so does my Dad who is 56…). I just seem to have one of those faces that must scream

"AAAAARGH I'M GONNA KILL YOU ALL!! DEATH TO THE INFIDEL!!!!"

ahem

Every single time I travel by plane I get searched, not just a quick pat down but taken to one side and almost (but not quite) strip searched. Now I could've understood it with my previous passport photo, I had a #1 haircut and was wearing a leather jacket with a very sullen face on me… Not that I was any different a person then but I could've understood people thinking I might have been a bit of a thug (despite that being about as far from the truth as you could get).
Now however I don't have any "distinguishing" things that could mark me as someone liable to be carrying plastic explosives in his socks (or whatever else they might have been searching my socks for) but none the less even without the machine beeping I get frisked and questioned. The best occasion was in Manchester airport where both my Dad and I got called over to one side just in the waiting lounge after the security checks and were questioned for about 5 minutes by a man in a suit and looking very serious. He took our entire itinery, almost right down to addresses…

The thing that gets me is, are terrorists that stupid? Insane, bigoted maniacs yes, but stupid? I don't think so…
Airport Security Man: "Reason for visiting?"
Terrorist/Me: "Oh, assasination of your Prime Minister and maybe a spot of genocide if my schedule allows"

No, it just isn't going to happen. I applied for the RAF a couple of years ago and one of the questions on the security questionaire was, and I shit you not:

"Have you ever planned to overthrow parliamentary democracy?"

And then the real killer, "If yes, please give details.".

Bollocks, yes you've rumbled me – November 5th, under the houses of Parliament with an obscene amount of gunpowder… Damn these questionaires!

Okay okay, I'm sorry. I understand and appreciate these rules and things like that and I'm all for them really. I'd be far more concerned and have far more to say if I wasn't checked at airports. Questionaires like that just tickle me and somewhat puzzles me as to the rationale behind them. And anyway – do I look like a terrorist?! Is this the face of a man who you should be afraid of!?! Obviously hiding WMD in my beard…

Anyway, I digress – I was initially planning on writing this entry about just my whirlwind trip to Milan and instead wandered onto the topic of my bad luck at airports. So back to Milan!

I speak no Italian, not a sausage. Not even a number! When I attempted to speak Italian I ended speaking in French for reasons which still aren't clear to me. I wanted so badly to thank people by saying merci. I wouldn't mind but it isn't as if I can even speak French that well!
I managed to blunder my way from the airport to my hotel (a 40 minute train journey away) and manage to check in obviously due to my fluent Italian and nothing to do with the fact that everyone there speaks English…

No time to explore unfortunately because by now it is about half 9 and I've got an early start in the morning. Bed. Excellent. Hmmm… itching slightly, must be a mosquito in the room or something (first thing I did upon entering the room was open the window).
Woke up in the morning covered in bites, I stopped counting at 25. A guy at work later gave me the nice mental image of the possibility of it having been bed bugs that did it, nice. Cheers Paul.

Right, am bored now and need to make food! I'll probably write part 2 of this ever growing treatise tomorrow when I get bored of DIY, didn't expect to have so much to write about this!


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