12 August 2008

Greetings from Kosovo!

Woohoo! I am back in Kosovo. Several things have changed since my last trip over a year ago including that Kosovo is now an internationally recognized independent country and it's not Lent so I can drink as much Turkish coffee as I like. Yay. My last trip was for an entire weeks and half days and with this being close to two weeks I'm hoping to see a little bit more of the city.

I left DC on Sunday at 6 pm and arrived in Pristina on Monday at 4 pm. Damn time change. It was neither my greatest flight ever nor my worst so I guess I can be thankful for that. Usually a slave to United (which I in general dislike) I was on Austrian Air this time around which I think is a bit of a step up from United. I got stuck in the middle seat between two men both larger than I was so there went my plan to work on my report for the eight and a half hour flight. I was completely squashed and someone needs to teach the guy on my left how to sit on an airplane (no dude, you do not get to take up as much space as you want and if you elbow me again twitching in your sleep my elbow will accidentally jam into your head). At least I had my favorite new toy, my Amazon Kindle, to keep me occupied. I do not sleep on planes. I have tried everything including over the counter sleep drugs, prescription sleep drugs, alcohol, alcohol and prescription sleeping pills...nothing works. I was hoping that my busy and active Saturday at the Montgomery County Fair and general lack of sleep lately would make me so tired that I would sleep but I was mistaken.

Then I had a charming six hour layover in Vienna. In Vienna falling asleep would have been no problem. I spent a lot of time walking around the terminal to force myself to stay awake actually. I did not, however, want to fall asleep here because there was not really a lot of places to sit, let alone fall asleep, and what if I missed my flight?! I really am creeped out by airports and I let that keep me awake. I did doze a wee bit on the two flight to Pristina though. Speaking of my flight to Pristina, let me please sidetrack a moment and wonder why American airlines in general completely suck when compared to, well practically any other airlines in the world. They don't charge you for luggage, for alcohol, and feed you regardless of the flight length. I had a lovely hot meal during that two hours between Vienna and Pristina. And you can't tell me that its because of rising gas prices in the States because Europeans at least have always paid more for gas than we have. Rant ended.

Upon my arrival in Pristina I immediately fell in love with its airport. Airplane landed, we got off and walked across the tarmac to the airport. That was nice, no wasting time trying to dock with the bridge thingy then walking endless corridors to get to immigration. The airport itself was fairly small square building which reminded me more of an airplane hanger rather than an airport. I walked in and immediately there was passport control. After passport control was the luggage belt which spit out my suitcase pretty quickly, then out the door. The entire process took about 15 minutes and most of that was waiting for my luggage. It was brilliant and this is now my favorite airport in the world. Seriously.

Because it was already so late in the day and I was such a zombie (if it was 4 pm in Pristina that meant it was roughly 10 am in DC and I had been awake since 7 am the previous day...) I skipped the office (I'm here for work) and went directly to my hotel. I unpacked, set my alarm, and fell immediately into bed for a nice 12 hours.

All in all a rather boring first day in Pristina but at least I am now awake and ready to appreciate the city.

PS-Before leaving on trip remember to do two things I forgot to do:

1. Check your watch battery. Normally I don't wear a watch because I have a cell phone but I bought one for those times I would be without. Unfortunately that means I never wear it and when I adjusted the time and put it on this morning I realized that the battery was dead.

2. Never ever rely on the fact that you'll remember what colored bottle you put your shampoo and conditioner in! I discovered also this morning that I have a lot of conditoner, but no shampoo. Sigh.

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