After arrival at the airport, everything proceeded more or less according to plan. Being a Friday evening (d’oh! forgot about that when I agreed to be bumped when Delta called me the day before) security lines were insane: packed and moving almost imperceptibly, and the chubby mouse-ear wearing British kid directly in front of me had to be hustled to a hurried exit when he started puking purple sludge into a ziplock bag (note to ziplock bag: Thank you for your fortuitous placement, O Ziplock Bag, or the pudgelet’s purgings would have landed on my bare, wedge-sandaled feet – ewwwww).
The flight departure was delayed a good 40 minutes by the torrential afternoon Florida rain, leading me to fret (unnecessarily) about making my connection in Miami. I was unable to cadge a window seat from Miami to Amsterdam, but was just thankful at that point not to be seated in row X or the row in front of the bathroom with non-reclining seats.
The KLM MD-11 was the domain of otherworldly blonde Amazonians stewardesses (very ‘death by snoo snoo’) swathed snugly in KLM blue suits. Struggling to foist my heavy bag into the overhead bin and finding myself to be a good ten inches too short to get the duffel situated properly, one of the Nederlandischer Valkyries gracefully swooped in to assist me, lightly boosting the bag into the compartment with one hand. I gazed upward and thanked her heartily, apologizing for my miniature status. “Choo are so velcome; as choo see, I em qvite tall,” she replied with a warm smile and excessive understatement. The freakishly tall, blonde, and good looking Netherlanders were everywhere, making me feel as if I were either a garden gnome, or had regressed to the age of six or so, when you’re pretty much face to face with the thighbones of adults.
I surreptitiously slipped all my inflatable devices out of my backpack—lumbar-supporting backrest, pillow shaped like a field hockey stick for leaning cheek against [instead of your poor appalled neighbor], crescent-shaped neck pillow if field hockey stick won’t function as desired—and began puffing them up as the lights were dimmed after dinner. Despite their additional cushiness (and let’s not forget the huge embarrassment factor!), I probably dropped off for just a half hour or so. Breezed thru immigration/customs at Schiphol (gawd, I love that feeling – no unpasteurized cheese-smuggling guilt!) and was at my hotel in no time.
It was now about 2 pm Amsterdam time and 8am at home – I’d been traveling since 3pm the day before – which isn’t bad to get that far away, all things considered. Hotel was awesome – made me feel like a super schmantzy rock star. It was nice and design-y, and as soon as I dropped my crap on the floor with a thud, I strapped on my bikini and went to their 2nd floor ‘wellness center’. Swam in their slate-lined indoor pool, alternating with a schvitz (the ceiling in the steam room was studded with tiny multicolored LED lites, leading to an otherworldly experience for this overtired traveler). Totally felt like I was at a Ritz-Carlton, and it was $120 a night. The bennies of staying outside of town….