Well I made it. After what seemed like an eternity trapped in limbo of being between an airplanes and airport terminals I have emerged on the other side of the world (almost) unscathed. With NZ being tucked away and surrounded by a heap of wet stuff, the isolation creates both pros and cons. It's peaceful, has a sense of individuality and we have that natural beauty of an island based eco-zone... but it does mean us Kiwis have it pretty rough when it comes to International flying.
One of the terrors of long-distance flying is body odour. It's safe to say that spending that long couped up in a recycled air environment is a strain on one's body. Few could help it – it's a natural function. But it seems that some guys out there are just not trying. Like the guy who sat next to me from Auckland to Singapore. That's like 12 hours. And you can't even escape it as you're pinned down. The best you can do is try and lean away but then you're head gets bashed by everyone walking up and down the aisle. You'd also think you'd get used to the stench after a couple of hours.. but you don't. You might as well be physcially inside his arm-pits it was so bad. Now I've already stated that it's a natural by-product of the horrendous conditions your body goes through when stuck inside a hot, crowded metal tube hours on end. But the solution is at every airport! Duty-free fragrances man!
They have free samples. For the love of everyone else in Row G (and for your next flight if you had one like me) - use them! True, it's not quite as easy as that because you don't want to be “that guy” who wanders around the Duty Free area trying everything. But there are some tricks that I have picked up. My personal favourite is to grab one of those paper tester strips they have (you know, the ones that allow you to spray and discard to avoid having seven different contrasting perfumes upon your person) and prepare to spray it. However – take note of where the nozzle is directed and “accidentially” spray yourself. Opps, oh well – it's on me now. Sometimes, if you look particularly dopey (as people often do when they get off an aircraft) you could probably repeat this a couple of times before you finally get it aimed onto your sample strip. By which time you should be coated in stuff that will hopefully mask your putrid onion odour. Actually in his case he should then eat the strip. Yes that's right fatty – your breath wasn't great either.
I have to comment on the airlines themselves too. First of all, what the hell is up with Air New Zealand? The reason we selected the flights and airlines was because they are part of an allianced network of carriers which means they all communicate with one another to ensure you make connecting flights. So why, when my flight to Auckland gets cancelled, do they say things like “oh, you should make the flight” or “hopefully, they'll hold it for you”. What do you mean – hopefully? Can't you pick up the phone and let them know I'm running like a mad woman's sh*t to make their plane? It wasn't just me either – there were 29 of us all needing to catch that flight. What really burns my buritos is that the cancelation was their fault! Sure, they blamed the weather – and who can help the weather right? But the thing was – it was the fog in DUNEDIN that caused my flight to be cancelled. Mine was a flight from Wellington to Auckland! Why? Because in order to maximise their profits, Air NZ recycle the same two and a half planes and have them flying all around the country non-stop. That's fine, but how about a back-up plan for such an occasion ? It's happened to me three times now so either I'm cursed or there is a serious flaw in their system. I'd be happy for them to bring out a cannon or a giant rubber-band as at least it looks like you care. Instead theyleft us 29 passengers in the lurch.
On the other side of the coin though, Singapore Airlines rocks my cow-print socks off. I was lucky enough to be seated aboard their BOEING 777-300ER which is one of the best aircraft in the skies for the public currently. The crew were efficient, always on hand and visually perfect in everyway. If I were to die in a plane-crash, I'd want my burning wreckage to carry that Singapore Airlines logo. And preferrably with one of their stewardesses passing me a drink before the wings drop off.
Anyway, all rants aside. I did make it and Cologne is a beautiful city. Even with my sleep-deprived, angsty self Cologne managed to completely spellbind me with her “other-worldly” charms. The city truly has some incredible culture and history and I felt as if I had arrived in a Delorean travelling at 80m/phr rather than a subway train. Giant gothic cathedrals litter the skylines, the mighty river Reign cuts through the narrow cobbled streets and the people have been friendly and quaint. Almost straight after I got into Cologne I ran to the nearest pub for a beer (as you do when you're in Germany). The guy working there looked like he owned the place back in the middle-ages and couldn't speak a word of English. But after some panting and gesturing towards posters of brews the old lad poured me the best damn beer I've ever had. But to be honest he could have served me tea-bag strainings I was so thirsty. The temperature in Cologne was close to 26 degrees and extremely humid.
So that's about all I have right now. I haven't slept in over 48 hours and my brain is numb from sensory over-load. But GamesCom starts late Tuesday (Wednesday back in NZ) so I'll rest up ready for the line-up. It starts with a couple of routine presentations but then it heats up towards the end of the week with the hands-on goodness. Keep checking NZGamer.com for the proper updates, until then – thanks for reading this mindless drivel. I hope to post a blog later on Cologne itself after I have had time to recover and to explore. Meanwhile I'm going to watch Two and a Half Men – dubbed in German. I believe it's actually twenty-three times funnier than the original version as a) I can't understand the terrible, predictable “jokes” that make me want to stab myself in the ears with a spoon and b) the chubby little fat kid has a deeper voice than Charlie Sheen! Heh... What the? Ahh – okay, I need some sleep!!
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