There are officially 9 days to go. My first shift was cancelled so I started on Sunday at Tegel.
I spoke English, German, French and I lied and pretended I could speak Spanish. In reality, I only know how to say "I speak French," "Ham and cheese," and "Two beers, please" in Spanish. Technically, we are supposed to be coordinating FIFA guests’ arrivals and departures with transportation to and from the city. I guess we did a little of that. Mostly it was straight comedy.
In Tegel, the airport information desk is inconspicuously placed under the huge arrival and departures board. Right now, when you enter Tegel, across from the competing non-sponsoring fast-food joint, you see big bright green signs welcoming everyone as Die Welt zu Gast bei Freunden. Of course, instead of going to the information desk, everybody and their grandmother comes straight to us. By the end of my shift, we’d concluded that it wouldn’t matter if Beckenbauer and Pele were sitting at the desk; there would still be someone asking where’s the gate with the next flight to the Canary Islands?
Until Sunday, I thought I had a lot of experience travelling and never imagined people travelled any differently. I’ve been in lots of airports and I’ve always just followed the internationally known icons and arrows and gotten on the plane. I would have never thought the following:
- Hey look at that corner with an unmarked door where all of the police keep coming out. That’s a great place to change my baby’s diaper.
- It’s Sunday. Why is the post office closed?
- I bet they are selling tickets to the Brasil game at that Info desk. There must be no line because I’m the only one who figured that one out.
- Hmm I speak no German but I left home without information about my hotel. I know it’s at a major tourist destination. Maybe Potsdamer Platz, maybe Alexanderplatz, you know one of those platzes. Maybe these people wearing Adidas powder blue track suits can help me.
- The peace sign is the appropriate way to thank someone for answering a question.
- I’m drunk. I’m in an airport. This is a good idea.
Someone needs to do a reality TV show in an airport. People are hilarious.