Most people dread and are horrified at the idea of sharing an armrest during a long haul flight. We all have one or two stories about the fat guy next to us, the drunk guy and the guy that just wouldn’t shut up for 6 hours when all you wanted to do was sleep. However, I have met more interesting people on the plane than I have in a coffee shop or the bar. One of those stories took place during a flight between Amsterdam and Athens.
I should mention that at the time of boarding, I have not slept for over 36 hours. I worked and then flew on a red eye without having an hour of sleep thanks to KLM’s entertainment system (which kept me up with amazing film festival winning movies). I continued to sightsee Amsterdam or in my mind Yucky Amsterdam for the whole day, and finally got to my short 3 hour flight from Amsterdam to Athens.
I do not remember when I fell asleep but I do remember a bunch of older Greek women who were stirring up a commotion about who sits where so much so that the flight was delayed. A young handsome late 20s man, came onto the plane and told them to move as they were in his seat; the seat next to me. After which I was sound asleep and I did not even hear us taking off. I woke up to turbulence over Athens. He turned to me and said not to worry as it’s always windy around this city.
So we started talking despite my probably bad breath, smudged make-up and exhausting look. It turns out that he was an optical engineer coming back from a convention. What he remembered about Amsterdam was all the loud Greeks. It was shocking to hear as I did not hear any Greek dialect when I was there but I guess you can spot your own kind from a mile away! It also turns out that he was just finishing his masters and planning to study for a phD. He continued to tell me about all the places I should visit, where to eat, and what else to visit… after a short 10 minute conversation he gave me his business card and said to call if I had any questions or issues or if I needed a local tour guide.
As I was still kind of out of it, I did not think twice of it. When we got to the luggage carousel, he waited for my bag to arrive (as luck would have it, it was almost last). He then continued to walk me to my hotel which at 1am was conveniently located 5 minutes from the terminal.
When we got to the sliding doors of the hotel, panic hit me. What if he wanted to come in? What am I to do, alone in a new city in the middle of the night? But he just handed me my luggage (which he carried the whole time), shook my hand, said enjoy Athens. and asked me to send him a message about my vacation in his country upon my return to Canada.
I managed to lose the card somewhere in my travels, however, I never forgot the kindness of the Greek engineer and for that year, he gave me hope in my search for love.