Schipol Airport

Work sent me off to Stuttgart Germany for a workshop on super computing — something I don’t really know a thing about, but, was determined to pick up some useful tidbits. It was a 3 PM flight from SFO to Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam. I hardly slept a wink mostly because the guy seated behind me kept leaning his knee/leg/foot on the back of my seat, shaking me awake each time I dozed off. The very short night soon gave way to daylight and then breakfast, leaving all hopes of sleep about 5 timezones behind me.

Upon arrival into Amsterdam, this airport shop stopped me in my tracks with quandary:

My internal clock said it was time for a beer, yet the local time (~11 AM) insisted that a double cappuccino would perfectly set me up to get through the rest of the day. I came so near to ordering both; obviously delusional that double fisting uppers and downers would happily cancel each other out.

I settled for water.

With 4 hours of layover left, I went on walk-about; figured the exercise couldn’t hurt. That’s when I came across this oddity:

Water Scooters

Because, you know, that scuba trip would be completely wrecked if you forgot your dive scooter. It’s good to know you can get one at the airport and stuff it in your carry-on luggage as you run to catch your plane. Crisis averted!

I then strolled into the “Duty Free” store and the cigarettes practically jump off the shelf and yelled into my ear how bad they are for your health — just in case you’ve never actually heard that before.


Smoking warnings.


I think the “Get help to stop smoking …” is my favorite and I find it quite revealing of the society we live in. The cigarette marketing weasels surely didn’t dream this up and willingly plaster it all over their cartons; not exactly good for business if everyone actually, you know, stops smoking. No, no; our nanny gu’ment mandates these statements. But, if they really cared about saving lives, maybe congress should look a little closer to home and stop trying to nag the annual 400,000 Americans from dieing a “slow and painful death”. Instead, grow a back bone and do something truly controversial to save lives by banning smoking entirely. Might just as well throw in fast food and alcohol too, while you’re at it. Together, congress can save 885,000 people from dieing due to voluntary causes in the name of personal freedom — every single year!

This took a turn I hadn’t really expected. Latent outrage, I s’pose. And before some wise acre pipes up that this picture was taken in Amsterdam, and therefore, not under U.S. law — I have one further comment to add: why are these warnings exclusively written in English?

Which, brings up an entirely different question to ponder, if it hasn’t happened already: How long till the first illegal alien that’s dieing of lung cancer sues the tobacco industry because the warnings were not written in the language of their mother tongue, and, therefore, were not afforded the luxury of knowing that, “smoking kills”?

3 comments to Schipol Airport

  • From super computing to illegal aliens – talk about 6 degrees of separation! Good rant though and that last question is a little chillng, cuz I could see it happening.

  • unkawill

    Been through Schipol many times, with a 4 hour layover you could find me in the Casino or the Bar.

    How did you like Stuttgart? I haven’t been since 82 but I sure loved that town.

  • Stuttgart was enjoyable. I had been there a few years back, but only briefly passing through on our “Autobahn” honeymoon.

    As part of the conference, they took us on a whirlwind 2 hour zip through the new Mercedes museum; which is amazing architecturally, to say nothing of the history of cars it contains. Then we were off to the incredibly swank “cube” restaurant, which was quite a treat since it’s apparently quite difficult to get a reservation at. The 60 place reservation for the group was made over a year ago!

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