I think you will agree this is an original title, but it does what it says on the tin, this is Part II.
I try to read the rest of my way to Warsaw, it is not working. The articles are instead filling me with dread as I turn a page and WHAM! the human-rights situation in Belarus declares itself to me as bold as brass. Excellent. BAM! Cameron is on the verge of persuading the EU to impose new sanctions against Belarus due to the deteriorating state of affairs and together with the Belarusian Ruble having been devalued last month (THANK YOU MA’AM), I am left wondering if there is any way I can hide my British Passport at Customs, and my overactive imagination ponders upon chaotic scenes on the streets of Minsk.
Alright Saiqa, settle down! I say to myself (inside my mind). As immediately as these thoughts enter my mind, I extract them with the same effect: instantaneously. If I managed to visited Tunisia at the end of the riots and the country was stable, Belarus can be no different (!) But fancy reading this article on the day I am travelling to the country, I do not ever even usually read The Independent, but I am liking them anyway for their informative warnings. My brain aches from the synaptic thoughtage, so I try to catch some forty winks instead.
I feel as if I have taken a huge quantity of drugs. Having had no sleep (only two hours before the taxi arrived at my apartment at 3:30AM to take me to Heathrow Airport) and then attempting to sleep sitting-up in a cramped seat with my head against the plane window and the blaring hum of Boeing 737 engines helping me drift in and out of consciousness, needless to say, is not awfully comfortable.
The excuse for a chocolate-poo croissant provided by LOT Polish Airlines as breakfast earlier is making me sick, I can feel it floating inside my abdomen bumping against my intestines rather than being absorbed by them. Back into slumber.
Finally, we land. My short-term memory and temporary delirium from having just woken sends me into another stressed frenzy of crazy. Aargh, where is my passport? Which bag did I put it in? I recollect not having put it into my designated fuscia pink-patchwork important information bag and I check my pockets, no, not there either. Aha, I dumped everything in to my W H Smith bag (8p! Cashier did not offer this information, I only realised after checking the receipt a couple of hours afterwards) when purchasing my necessary stash of chocolate. Safe after all, they will let me into Poland.
Stewardess announces the name of the airport and I have no idea what she said (I have just googled it and it is Frederic Chopin Airport except when she was speaking, it sounded like Grbrreric Cfrberr – she spoke too fast, I was feeling dizzy with the lack of language ability) and thus advises If you have your boarding pass for your connecting flight, visit the Transfer Desk. If you do not yet have your boarding pass, visit the Transfer Desk. It was the same information, maybe she is trying to confuse me somehow?
Anyway, I direct myself into the seemingly opposite direction of everyone else as I follow the sign for TRANSFER LINKS. It is a desk kind of on a mezzanine level surrounded by glass, the airport looks like it is entirely constructed from glass (from the inside) I have no idea of its outer appearance of course, it’s beautifully spacious and calm. Two older women are standing behind the desk like commanders of the Earth. One of them is already dealing with a couple.
Commander-of-the-Earth-II addresses me, Yes?
I want to transfer to Minsk, please.
Wait, she will help you. (referring to Commander-of-the-Earth-I)
OK, thank you.
I open my bags gathering my paperwork and passport in preparation, there is no queue behind me. Commander-of-the-Earth II is not impressed. Move to other side. I do as I am told, I do not want to be imprisoned by airport transfer police.
Being laden (no, nothing to do with Bin Laden) with British subtleties and stiff upper lip and what-not, I mutter under my breath. The lady from the couple was eavesdropping and she looks bemused. What takes you to Minsk? Ah, a fellow Briton. An unbroken bond of allegiance in a foreign country, a traveller always finds relief and a sense of belonging when meeting others to which we have affinity. An unimaginable smile spreads across my face. I am going for work purposes to meet with an agent. And yourself?
The same, you wouldn’t go to Minsk for any other purpose really and laughs.
Commander-of-the-Earth-I advises the couple are fine to go, but the printer is broken so the boarding pass will have to be printed at the gate. While this is occurring, I have already noted the departure gate but a little confused as two flights to Minsk are leaving at the same time. Will work that one out when I reach the gate I suppose to myself. I do not want my head eaten off by Commander-of-the-Earth-II by asking her a question. The couple say a quick goodbye, woop, my turn.
Or not. A random woman appears from absolutely nowhere – jumps infront of me, the British lady quips Welcome to Eastern Europe as she notices the same, just in case I was under any delusion the woman had actually appeared from Narnia. Commander-of-the-Earth-I explains to Dis/Re-Appearing Woman in Polish that she must wait her turn in the queue and requests my passport.
Permission is granted for my place on the flying vestibule after the Belarus visa in my passport is verified, and again she explains that the printer is broken. I invite myself into the security checking area and after some instructions from Lady Hitler: (Take laptop out, Put on line (What do you mean Put on line, oh you mean put in tray why didn’t you say), Come in, OK go) I am free to loiter around Frederic Chopin quite pleased I had not been chopped up by anybody yet.
I avoid the outlets selling beautiful items in case they are trying to steal my expenses cash and I make my way to the Ladies. As I open the door, I am greeted by a passing radioactive Russian woman which then brings to fore a reminder from my Director: Don’t eat the strawberries, apparently they still have some kind of fallout from Chernobyl. As I am recalling this memory I laugh to myself as well as at the illuminous green clothing the Russian woman is wearing. (Also I have no idea how I know she is Russian but I am proved correct as later I see her boarding the plane to Moscow!)
Unfortunately for me, I forget I am chewing gum and swallow the slippery piece of elasticated rubber after nearly choking to death. Usually I heave if this happens, my insides are outside, it is the worst possible thing to swallow, but I survive. If I die today, it looks as though it will be at my own stupidity.
I find Gate 17 with ease, and I note the flight replication on information boards in different languages (?), I have no details to corroborate this assumption. The British couple and the Dis/Re-appearing Woman are waiting in the queue to board, so if there was any doubt, there is none now! I obtain my boarding pass and notice the adjacent gates for Moscow and Chicago flights, wishing and wondering how I can ever reach these two destinations, One day maybe I say to myself. I live in hope.