Wednesday, June 10, 2009

an eery sense of deja vu

As I staked out my padded bench, I realized that it was two years and four days since I last found myself sleeping on the benches in Helsinki airport. That time, I was traveling from the Ukraine to Denver. This time, it's a little more straight-forward, and I'm going from Denver to Hyytiala. I was supposed to spend the night in Tampere, but my hotel reservation apparently got cancelled (they realized they didn't have enough space?), and all the other hotels in Helsinki, Tampere and Hammeenliinna (sp?) were booked due to some conferences and a massive Finland-Russia soccer match that apparently result in minor riots and the closing of streets. I know this, because several snoring Russians also ended up sleeping on nearby airport benches.

I can't complain - once again, I got bumped to Business class on the trans-atlantic flight, and in the end I'd actually take that and a night in the airport over the middle seat in Economy class on United with an airport hotel at the other end. Or so I'm telling myself.

Other highlights of the trip included having a nasty cold - that included a mild fever, runny nose, sore throat, headache, mild nausea and general feeling of being unwell - which in my half-awake state I accidentally answered yes to when asked in the Frankfurt airport by the security officials, and was strongly encouraged to go see the doctor to make sure I don't have swine flu. It seemed easier to just go and see the doctor in the airport, so 30 euros later I can conclusively tell any over-anxious airport security and immigration guards that no, I don't have the swine flue. It's just a bad cold. And it's almost gone now. It's amazing what twelve hours of sleep in a real bed will do for you.

But I made it home to Hyytiala, and spent the afternoon in a daze trying to fix a broken instrument. Apparently the PTR-ToF-MS has so much love and affection for me that it threw a petulant fit about two days after I left, and shut down for some mysterious reason. It took me a day and a half to make amends and get it (mostly) working again. Not that I know what the problems were, but if you turn an instrument off and then on again and take it apart and put it back together again enough times, they generally get fed up and start working again - dare I say... cry themselves to sleep and then wake up having forgotten about the argument? or is that too much anthropomorphosizing of machines?

No comments: