May be it’s just me that’s odd, but is there really any pleasure to be had from drinking vodka and coke at 10am?
I was flying out of Gibraltar airport for the first time in years. The border queue looked a bit frightening but luckily my chauffeur (Dad) was on the ball. He dropped off his precious cargo (me) right by passport control before doubling back to join the long line of cars snaking around the roundabout and into Gibraltar.
Anticipating the luxury of a shiny new airport building, I subsequently learned that this was a treat reserved exclusively for those arriving at Gibraltar rather than departing. So I followed the same old route as before, through pedestrian passport control, past a busier than usual customs area (they now have desks and everything), shimmied alongside the Rock Tour taxi drivers and crossed the road next to the traditional British style red phone box. I smiled at the British bobby complete with rounded helmet and headed into the main airport building.
Bless Gibraltar airport. You couldn’t get lost there. The five or six check in desks were right at the entrance. The line of sunburnt faces appeared to all be flying on Easyjet so I was able to walk straight up to the Monarch desk and relieve the very jolly clerk of her boredom. I was slightly disappointed that she didn’t weigh my hand luggage after I’d worked so hard to get it to under 10kg!
Then on through passport control and security, a whole ten paces away. I unloaded all my 9.9kg of gadgets from my bag for uninterested scrutiny by the X-ray machine operator and then coped very well with my pat down search. I was more concerned when the security lady ran off with my shoes but she came back after a minute or two. Phew. I thought she’d cottoned on that my £10 Primark boots were a crime against the Marbella lifestyle and was going to dob me in!
Great, time for a coffee and a wonder around the shops. I had forgotten completely how dismal the Gibraltar airport shops were unless you’re an alcoholic or ciggie addict. The Last time I had flown from this airport I was a foul smelling Marlboro Light aficionado and I remember sitting in the bar area wallowing in mine and others’ smoke. You didn’t really need to smoke back then. The passive smoke in that bar would have done for you just as quickly.
Thankfully the bar had become a more humane area in which to enjoy your coffee, just. But it was full of men and women, British of course, drinking pints of beer, glasses of wine and spirits! One girl sitting next to me exclaimed over and over that she couldn’t get over how strong her drink was. Of course it’s strong dear, it’s 10 o’clock in the bleeding morning!!!
May be it’s just me. I am the girl who can’t even do breakfast before 11am. And we’re not big drinkers. It reminded me of a flight we took about ten years ago from Gatwick. We were on a Virgin package tour flight to Tenerife and neither of us knew quite where to put ourselves when the stewardess on the plane greeted us with a fruit vodka cocktail at 6am. Never mind the vodka, it was a bright turquoise cocktail. Knocked us out for the entire flight despite the e-numbers, colouring and preservatives!
Back in Gib, I quietly drank my cafe con leche, happily people watching from the bar and was over the moon to see the vodka lasses board the Gatwick flight. It did make me laugh though that Easyjet managed to lose several of their passengers including one person who needed special assistance to board the plane. Come on, how far away could they have got in an airport departure lounge the size of a large living room? Just how strong were those drinks?
My airport experience was redeemed by an amazing take off with the pilot flying around the Rock and along the Costa del Sol. It was a beautifully clear day; the Mediterranean was glistening, the container ships and tankers looked like toys bobbing in the water (no warships that day!), Africa was rising out of the sea and the over built Costa looked quite magnificent. I was almost sad to be returning via Malaga and missing out on the shiny new arrivals building at Gib. But at least there’s Starbucks at Malaga airport!