A tale of four countries

Yesterday morning I was in London Heathrow. I arrived an unusual 2-and-a-half hours before my flight, since I was warned I’d need to check in early to ensure I got a seat. Having arrived, and undergone the usual indignity of removing my shoes, I waited around for BA to decide (and then change their mind about) which gate it would be leaving from.

I found a BT Openzone wifi sofa. It turned out to be a pay-for service (which I decided against, since I’d checked emails earlier in the morning) but it did offer Nintendo DS online action for free, which worked well. I have been trying (and failing) to get this working at home with my Belkin G+ MIMO wireless router, so the opportunity to play Mario Kart DS against a random person from Japan was a pretty exciting experience, though slighty jerkier than I’d hoped.

Leslie (‘Dirty Den’) Grantham, Duncan (‘Blue’) James and Peter (‘Drugs’) Doherty provided discussion-fodder for the daytime TV that was playing on an enormous (and very loud) plasma TV screen in Terminal 4. This made me feel slightly old, as well as a little unfamous because I went to school with both Duncan and Peter and they are both, in their very different ways, fairly big celebrities now. Fern Britton and Peter Schofield were presenting one show; both were being very patronizing and clearly talking down to the grannies who make up most of their audience. Peter Schofield looks pretty old himself now, and Fern Britton surely shows both too much cleavage and leg to be popular with the granny crowd.

I bought a banana at WHSmiths, just because they had a fruit selection instead of the usual range of sweets at the tills. One step closer to five portions a day (a hard target, since apparently chips don’t count).

I landed in Switzerland (half an hour late. Why are airports so congested at the moment?) Basel is so close to France that the airport has both a French entrance and a Swiss entrance. I took the Swiss one, and was driven (across the border and into Germany) to the hotel in Badenweiler. This seems to rhyme with ‘Rottweiler’ rather than ‘three-wheeler’. My German is so bad that this was my only means of getting it right. Most unfair on such a beautiful town to remember it in terms of a vicious dog.

The hotel was very comfortable. I was there to meet a customer and present ‘Web 2.0, Emerging Technologies and Virtual Worlds’ as part of an innovation workshop they were running. They seemed pretty satisfied by the whole thing, and it led to some great conversations and a good discussion over lunch too. Just as well, as is was a long way to come for a two hour prentation.

This afternoon I came back to Basel airport (only about 18 hours after having left it) via France. Hat trick; three countries on the trip, or four if you count the UK.

Basel airport Venting Basel airport - autostitched - cropped Reflections and shadows Quiet

I also took a quick snap of myself on one of the moving walkways in the airport, which came out so well that I’ve cropped it to be the new header image for this blog.

As with Zurich recently, some interesting clouds on the way back too.

Cotton wool Layers Orange Sunset clouds Contrail

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