Sensing the living LMR community since 2008w43.
Eyjafjallajökull or bust!
Here I am. Arriving at a huge sports centre in the outskirts of Madrid. Invited for the “Campus Party Europe” by the Spanish Department of Self Promotion, or something. Alle expenses paid for by the European Union. Sleeping in a little tent. Herr Giger, eat your heart out.
Partying with 800 other nerds from all over Europe. And then, all of a sudden, “BRRUOAAARRRRP!”. Somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean Mother Nature lets one rip. She could have chosen the day before. Then I never would have landed here.
Eight hundred Internet connected nerds, every single one of them wanting to go home on Sunday. To Athens, Bucharest, Amsterdam, Paris, London, Brussels, Helsinki, Lisbon, Stockholm, Berlin, Nicosia. And Rotterdam…
All of them sucking in the news from the web and tweeting it out again. We did not buy our own tickets. Nobody knows how the organiser of this event is going to solve this puzzle for us. In 800-fold. Oh well, maybe not 800. Account for a large contingent of “local” Spaniards. English is the second language at this gathering, but by quite some distance behind Spanish.
Since we are unable to change anything about the situation, the mood quickly lightens up. We continue our dance on the volcano. We reach some sort of consensus that the timing of this eruption is not so bad after all. This is one very cool party to attend.
We are tinkering somewhat, bull ■■■■■■■■ somewhat and we ignore a few more dignitaries and TV crews. We feel like extras in a four day TV commercial for the Spanish presidency of the European Union. And we are fine with it.
But at the end of our stay, we are still staying. We’re stuck in Spain! Only Athens is still accepting incoming flights. Bye Antonios. Bye lucky bastard! Adiós Miguel. Only fifteen minutes by car huh? Why don’t we just stay another night inside the alien hatchery?
It does not have to come to that. De organisation leased a few touring cars. Buses that look like the kind that ordinarily transport Spanish kids from school to home. Those kids do not need to hold their pee for four hours. That’s why this bus does not need to have a toilet on board. And the chairs are definitely not designed with Dutch guys (1.90 m) in mind!
The itinerary consists of a few destinations. The route is a blue line drawn on a paper map, but as it turns out, is open for discussion. The Scandinavians do not know for certain how close to home they will be dropped off. Could be at the docks in Lübeck (Northern Germany), could be Copenhagen. They are packing their complimentary tents, just in case.
The bus drivers do not speak English and they did not bring a GPS. This improvised organisation is over compensated by the hyper connected crew in the back. Fifty nerds carry, on average, fifty iPhones. We have Google Maps and TomTom and we are navigating the drivers skilfully past the busy traffic around Paris.
The busy evening traffic that would normally slow me down on my daily commute has long disappeared by the time we pass my place of work. It is now up to me to pilot the bus, using my local knowledge. It’s only 5 km to my stop and 900 km more to Copenhagen. After 26 hours in this tight tin on wheels, I reach the conclusion that I am one of the lucky bastards among this folk. The Germans and Danes still have a long way to go. The Swedes and Fins even longer.
Holland is out of character; warm and sunny. Spain on the other hand has been strangely cold and wet. In the Utrecht city bus I meet a trio elderly Americans. Their story sounds all too familiar to me. On the train back to Rotterdam (yes I am travelling back south a bit), I overhear people speaking English and German, but not Dutch. When will the much anticipated “Back in Holland” feeling finally come to me?
I am trying to find it in my steaming hot bath tub. I am soaking for two hours straight. AAHAHHHHHHHHHHH
Another twelve hours in my own comfortable bed. OOOHHHHHHHHHHHH
During my PC-bound “breakfast” session I learn that all my friends made it back home. With the exception of Razvan (TinHead). He lives in Bucharest. You just do not want to bus all the way over there from Madrid. You’d better spend three more days in the rainy plains of Spain.
Wednesday, the European skies allow flight again. Or the European flight regulations do, depending on who you’re asking. Finally even Razvan can get home. Like me, he spends his Thursday at the office. Only difference being: he had just one short night to recuperate. I had two whole days.
That morning, I kind of expected a thick layer of grey volcanic fallout to cover my car. But this is a different kind of fallout. This fell out of well fed city gulls. Oh, how I hate washing my car!
You’re back in Holland dude! Can you feel it now?! SQUAAWWWK!
You should put a sticker on that!