Scandinavia: Day 1

A Fortune 500 CEO once famously quipped, “if you never miss a flight, you’re spending too much time in airports.” Clearly, I am, as I’ve never once missed a plane. This is the influence of my mother, a woman who not only always arrives two hours before any flight, but also arrives as much as a full hour before movies, just to guarantee prime seats.

Thus, after childhoods of her training, my brother and I show up to the nearly deserted American Airlines terminal slightly before midnight on Friday, stroll through check in and security, mosey past rows of closed duty free shops, and pull up to our gate an hour and forty-five minutes before departure.

My perfect plane-catching streak continues.

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Note scrawled down while waiting in boarding area:

Girls with British accents: Yes, please.

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As I’m a terrible, terrible plane sleeper, I try something I’ve never done before: I pop two sleeping pills as I board the JFK to Heathrow flight. My brother does the same, then jokes about the possibility of us passing out from their effects on the walkway just outside the plane’s door. Instead, we make it all the way to our seats before dropping into deep, uninterrupted sleep for nearly the entirety of the six hour flight.

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We wander around the concourse of Heathrow’s Terminal 1, too groggy to go through with our planned Guinness pint. We also pass on sandwiches at Pret a Manger, a stop suggested by my parents, who discovered the sandwich chain while passing through Heathrow one week prior. I don’t mind skipping it, however, as there’s a branch downstairs from my Manhattan office. Several others of the British stalwarts on the concourse – Thomas Pink, FCUK – have locations within walking distance of my apartment as well. Homogenize the world enough and one place is nearly indistinguishable from any other.

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The customs line at Sweden’s Arlanda Airport is long but exceedingly blonde and well-mannered. From there, we hop the Arlanda Express Train, and, on the twenty minute ride to the City Center, glimpse Stockholm for the first time.

August 28, 2005