Just another transatlantic crossing

1 03 2011

It’s 9pm local time, 3am where I came from – waaayyyy past my bedtime. After leaving winter in Europe, the tropical air here in South Florida, though not directly stifling, will take some time to get used to. A noncommittal breeze meanders around the building as the sprinkler system kicks in at the golf course just below my 4th floor window.

Lights flicker on at beachfront high-rises in the distance, and the sound of suburbia is disturbed only by the dull noise of commuters hading home on a major highway, about a mile away.

Welcome to South Florida!

I arrive here on LX 64, a time-share inhabitant of seat 27A. 10 hours and 45 minutes wedged into a corner of a steel tube headed southwest. Right from the start though, something is different… but maybe it really is just the wind. We taxi to the wrong end of the main runway 16/34 at Zurich Airport, take off towards the northwest instead of the southeast, thankfully sparing me the standard-pattern, stomach-churning, nerve-deadening steep left-hand turn over the city at 500 feet AGL. (There are days when you wonder if thrust and lift really will deliver what they promise. Days when you think the wingtip is close enough to scrape the roofs of houses below. An engine failure here would be a human catastrophe.)

But this is an uneventful trip, as transatlantic journeys go. Vegetarian lasagna (bad choice) on my tray-table accompanied by Grammy-winner Lady Antebellum on the sound system. The Social Network entertains me for two hours and I spend time working on the To-Do list that will keep me occupied days, nights and in-betweens for the next couple of weeks.

Pick up luggage – my suitcase takes a long time to emerge from the airport’s intestines (despite the prominent tag that says “Crew”) – and walk out the big double doors that separate MIA airside from landside. Here I always get a knot in my throat, quietly wishing my father would be standing there, waiting to pick me up, like he did for almost 10 years… and that his death 3 ½ years ago was just a really bad dream. I’m always disappointed.

The time from wheels-on-the-ground to drink-in-hand is a respectable 103 minutes, but far from our record of 79 minutes. Traffic on I-95 sucks.

But now I’m here and relieved. Home. In a way.

My great adventure begins with a beachfront sunrise skate at 6am.

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