I had no reason to go anywhere. On my laptop,
I would need to do it like right now.
So I got on the phone and called Andrews (Air Force Base). A C-9 was leaving that night with a roll call of 2210. I rushed home and started packing.
Normally I need a couple days to pack for these trips. But today, I only had a couple hours.
I made the flight. That was only because a family of four had to rush home to grab something they needed in Germany.
There were no more seats available. But if they didn't come back in time, I would be guaranteed a seat.
I never flew on Christmas Day. And I forgot how cold these planes got. I've never felt colder. My sandwich literally froze.
Spent Christmas Day in Ramstein. The thing about arriving in the winter is that there were actually rooms available.
Sometime around 3:00 AM (when it was still night back home), I found a flight to someplace warmer and exotic for only 150 Euros. What a steal, right.
Catch this: It was an Air France flight from Frankfurt to Paris. I was fortunate to have an overnight, 9-hour layover in Paris -- the only catch -- it was in Orly, an airport an hour and a half from CDG.
What a weird concept -- it was like having an overnight layover in DC but having to transfer from Reagan to Dulles on your own.
Orly was about as dead as Pompeii. The airport was closed but several of us managed to catch some ZZZs away from the cleaners and the security guards.
The next morning, caught a puddle jumper from Paris to Barcelona -- should be excited, except I was dead tired.
Checked into Kabul, smack dab in the middle of Plaza Real in the center of the old city. With a name like that, how could I resist.
Hit the sack -- didn't even care about grabbing a bite.
Bright eyed and busy tailed by 6 pm. Got showered and checked my email. Mosied down the steps to see what was cooking out in bustling La Ramblas.
On the way down I met some nice vacationers: Brazilians, Canadian and two American sisters.
"Where're you going?"
"Marsella, the oldest bar in Barcelona."
It took us a while to get there. It was located in a far-away corner where working girls roamed the streets on a mission.
"Hemingway went there. So did Picasso."
We walked in, and the walls were stained chocolate brown from years and years of cigarette smoke. The whiskey bottles that lined the walls must have been a century old. Thick clumps of cobwebs lined the ceilings and chandelier, creating an ambience of character and age.
And what was the treat? Absinthe -- an acrid tasting glass of alcohol that burns if you swallow too fast.
You place a small fork over the glass, place a cube of sugar and pour water on it, until it dissolves.
That was the trick and it made the entire drink quite pleasing, albeit still strong.