I have become unstuck in time, like the the main character from Slaughter-House Five, whose name I cannot find because I’m also unstuck from wifi. I am in a Barcelona apartment on my first day after flying, it’s 5:30 in the morning and everything’s quiet save for a vibrating cellphone alarm in the room next to mine. Back home it is 3:30 in the afternoon tomorrow, and I’d say that’s what my body feels like it should be, and why I feel so awake now, but it’s not right. My body has no clue what time or day it is; I just travelled for 33 hours from New Zealand to Qatar to Barcelona, going back a day as I did so. The time is meaningless and my body is just trying to adjust to the immediate now, figuring out if I’m sleepy, or hungry, or need to pee. My friend Devan, of the vibrating phone, is awake now and shuffling in the living room. The cars passing by on the street are more frequent. A dog is barking for a walk, a man is coughing, two people speak in short sleepy bursts on the corner. The morning is coming to its senses alongside me.
I am here on in Barcelona on a worktrip to attend Kubernetes Conference. What is kubernetes? I don’t quite know! I’m hoping the conference will shed some light. But my workmates are nice, and Barcelona is grand, and being constantly confused is cool to me, so this week should be good.
Airport highlights from travel to Spain
I went through security with a full rugby team, all dressed in the same blue/green team jacket, and one of the players had their bag set aside for additional screening. But the bag was a grocery tote, and it was brimming, overfilled, spilling into the screening tray, with energy bars. All different kinds and flavors, all loose no boxes. I’m unsure if the player brought them to eat on the plane, all 4 dozen or so, or if his energy bar needs were so specific that he could not trust the local selection for wherever he was going, and had to bring the kiwi brands. The agent ruffled through the bag, then filled it back with all that spilled and handed it back to the man, and it felt absurdly correct–the contents of his carryon matched his appearance too cleanly, like if someone dressed head to toe as a doctor went through security with a backpack filled with stethoscopes.
I arrived in Qatar at midnight, local time. The night was clear and black except for the skyline of Doha in the distance, glittering with lights. There were busses to take us from our plane to the terminal, and as I walked onto the tarmac I was hit by a wall of thick heat. It was past midnight, and still 30 degrees (90 F). The heat was full, but pleasant, muggy in a nice way. Then I get onto the bus and all the metal handrails are frosted over. I don’t know if it was the AC in the bus causing condensation, or if the busses were kept in giant fridges before being driven out, but every handrail felt like holding onto a beer glass, with the warm night air still coming through the open bus door, and it was just lovely.
The Doha Airport Duty-Free mall was open still, and lavish as. I am bleary-eyed and kinda shaky from 18 hours of flying and walking by jewelry store after jewelry store all staffed with beautiful people in bespoke suits, and the fanciest of clothing and luggage shops, and also a small car dealership? There is someone out there who needs to buy a BMW at 3 in the morning, in the layover between flights, in the way us commonfolk buy toothbrushes and bags of mixed nuts, and the Doha airport provides for all of us.
I also watched soooooo many movies on the flight. I bring my computer and books and prepare for better activities, but once I see that chairback screen I know nothing else. I watched the new spiderman (so good), and I tried to watch Star is Born and got upset halfway through cos it was just making me feel awful, and switched over to Eighth Grade (so good!) and Grand Budapest Hotel (still good!), then tried to finish Star is Born and turned it off angry at the garage scene. I think I was watching a content-modified cut of the film (everyone said ‘freaking’ a lot), and maybe they cut out scenes for that reason...but themovie was still over two hours and felt super scattered, just a collection of emotionally hard moments with no connective narrative, plus snippets of what sounded like the same song. Then I watched Tag and it was shitty as too!
This has been my movie minute. Now…BARCELONA.
I think it’s good! I’ve had about 3 hours of lucid time here, and they were all pretty and nice. We went to a vegan restaurant that was v. good, and the walk there was down a nice pedestrian-only promenade with copper-colored streetlights and a high ratio of happy, small dogs. There’s a plaza near our place that fills up with families at dusk, all playing soccer and chatting on park benches, and drinking delicious 2$ beers in tent-covered seating outside the bars. That’s, that’s all I know now! That and that the sun rises around 6:30 am and shines into my room quite softly.
Alright, I am now certain that I’m hungry AND I need to pee. I’ma go take care of them, in reverse order.