I lost it the other day, totally and utterly, flushing hot with reduced hearing and tunnel vision – lost it. Tra la la the Suzy has left the building. It happened in the Speedy Boarding Easy Jet line. Where else right? I’d done it all: paid the fee to check in a suitcase; decanted my shampoo into teenie tiny bottles; put those bottles in to a plastic bag; taken apart my bra to get at the wire that has the airport bouncers convinced I could detonate it.
I erroneously thought that by buying Speedy Boarding (more money spent), I can avoid the stampede. Well, not really because Easy Jet is totally twisted, so what they do is the leave the gate blank until 20 minutes before the flight takes off. Which means everyone pools in front of the monitor, necks craned waiting for the gate, standing of course because Schonefeld airport only has two seats. If you are even 5 minutes late in noticing the gate, it’s over, you have to queue again! This time in an airless hallway, shuffling slowly in what is now the third line. We are about the 10th in line, only because I blocked the stairwell as I was gingerly pushing Layla’s pram down step by step, with a whole plane load of people behind me groaning that I was going so slowly but never once offering to help. When a whole gaggle of over gelled, over accessorized Greek men looking like they are on their way to audition for a middle-aged boy band make their way into the Speedy Boarding queue. Seeing a woman traveling with a child they opt to:
a. Help with the buggy
b. Play with the child
c. Cut in front of them
Yup. C. They picked C. Silly fools that probably still live with their mother and drive tuned up Fiats but have Ferrari sunglasses. (Oh ya! I’m angry. Pick up on the venom?)“Tell me,” I asked sarcastically “is your Speedy Boarding somehow superior to mine? Allowing you to cut in front?” Dumb stares all round at what to do with the little woman with a pram who is antagonizing them. “What do you do when you see an old lady struggling to cross the street?” I continued. “Rob her?”
There is no need to campaign against air travel, the ordeal of air travel itself is enough of a deterrent. Whenever I can, I chose an operator like British Airways over one like Easy Jet because imagine a world where these no frills airlines bankrupt the traditional airlines. Are you imagining it? Do you have enough bills in your pocket to pay for the priviledge of using the onboard toilet?
9 days stretch out between me and my next Easyjet adventure, at least Athens airport is a well built, adequately air conditioned place (with elevators, YAY!) and the Greeks are very good at helping families through the most cumbersome bits of the check in process.
This recipe for stuffed vegetables with a side of soutzoukakia (Greek meatballs with Mavrodafni wine) is just the thing to take the edge off. Greek comfort food, on a par with macaroni and cheese. You eat the vegetables with slices of feta and I strongly urge you to make the soutzoukakia recipe to go along with them!
Stuffed Peppers & Tomatoes
6 peppers or large tomatoes or a mix, hollowed out (for the tomatoes use a melon baller)
1 large onion diced
2 cloves of garlic
2 large tomatoes or half a box of passata
1 cup rice (in Greece we have Blue Rose from Agrino which is ideal for stuffed vegetables but a short grain rice will do)
5 tablespoons dill
salt and pepper
1. Finely chop the onions and fry until soft and translucent in a generous helping of olive oil.
2. Add the garlic. Fry another minute more.
3. Add the grated tomatoes or passata and cook out for a few minutes.
4. Add the rice, turn to coat. Add 2 & 1/2 cups water. Season with plenty of salt & pepper.
5. Cook 2/3 of the way through.
6. Fill the peppers, drizzle olive oil on top add a cup of water in the bottom of the roasting tin place in a pre-heated (180C) oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the peppers are golden and soft, the rice is cooked through.