Sunday, July 12, 2009

Random bullets o' travel crap

Fighting my way back home to Dharmonia. Now 1:30am where I left, the alarm having rung at 6am. Passing the time:

  • Almost everywhere in the so-called First World (Europe and the Pacific Rim) does travel accommodations, security, bureaucracy, design and so forth better than Americans;
  • Americans are loud and obnoxious travelers; the stereotype has a grain of truth;
  • If you spend most of your Stateside life in air-conditioned environments (say, anywhere in the American Southwest), engaging with indoor/outdoor climate the way most of the rest of the world does--e.g., unmediated except by window screens and fans--can be quite a shock. We are goddamned effete people.
  • Most of the world walks or rides bicycles more than most Americans. They are facilitated in this by cities whose layout predates the internal combustion engine.
  • Airlines are evil, and the only people who like them are the majority stockholders. EVERYONE one else who deals with them--passengers, on-the-ground staff, in-the-air personnel--are being abused, ripped-off, or exploited.
  • Airlines know that they're as essential to the nation's 21st century function as the railroad barons knew they were in the 1890s, and we'd need another trust-buster as ferocious as Teddy Roosevelt to bring 'em to heel.
  • If Ronald Reagan hadn't killed Amtrak and the Bush family hadn't sold out to Saudi Oil, we'd have a train system that would let a large percentage of the population tell the airlines to "fuck off."
  • I don't mind paying a fee for a checked, because lots of folks traveling regionally don't check anything, and they shouldn't be penalized. On the other hand, anybody who shows up at check-in with a bag that's 20 kilos overweight, thereby forcing them to hold up the queue while they try futilely to redistribute, should be subject to public ridicule. Maybe that'll learn 'em.
  • On the other other hand, Ryan Air's plan to cram more people on board their flights by having people stand, or sit on stools, is the product of, hmm, how shall I put this?...FECKIN' EEDJITS!
  • Too many Americans act as if, should they refrain from pushing to the front of the boarding queue regardless of their group number, they're going to somehow get left behind--like, the airline staff are going to give their seat to someone else?!?
  • Airports are one of the greatest places in the world to people watch; as our old friend David says "you get to see a lot of people being happy."

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