As usual, the journey begins with a number 15 bus. All the way to Zuid this time, as the 197 doesn’t currently stop at Haarlemmermeerstation.
It’s an early start for me, as my flight is at 10:35. And they’re still advising getting to Schiphol 3 hours before departure.
My heart sinks as I see the queue for the bag drop-off queue. Right out into the corridor. They’re so busy that, in addition to the baggage machines, all the check in counters are manned. Which is where I drop off my bay, the old-fashioned way. At least I can see, as I wait to ditch my bag, that the security queue isn’t all the way down the stairs this time.
The queue still isn’t exactly what I’d describe as short. But bag drop-off, security and passport control only take an hour or so. Only? What’s become of my expectations? Have they really got so low?
Once through all the shit, I pick up my traditional bottle of duty-free whisky. Not Laphroaig this time. I can’t resist the Talisker at just €38.
On the way to my gate, I grab a bacon and egg sandwich. A classic health-food breakfast. Having plenty of time to kill, there’s also time for a bar visit. I manage to resist Heineken Extra Cold and go for just normal Heineken. Which is still too cold for my tastes.
Once in my seat, I pug in the noise-cancelling headphones and look for shit comedy films to watch. I find the lightest sort of drivel makes the flight fly by. And that’s what it’s all about: making the journey seem as short as possible. And what’s more drivelly than Neighbours 2? The sequel to a crap film.
Funnily enough, despite having visited Atlanta before, I’ve never been in the airport. Last time I arrive by train and left by Greyhound bus. Luckily, there isn’t much of a queue for immigration. I’m through pretty quickly, but my bag is already on the carousel.
I’m staying downtown. Just for one night. I jump in a taxi to take me there. I’m pleased to learn that it’s a fixed fare - $32. A bargain, considering how far out the airport is, compared to Schiphol.
I’ve arranged to meet Mitch Steele in the Porter Beer Bar at 6 PM. I’m a bit pushed for time and by the time my taxi drops me there, it’s 6:15. But Mitch is nowhere to be seen. After a while I twig that I’ve set the time on my watch incorrectly. I actually arrived in the pub at 5:15.
I’ve plenty of time to check out the pub, a long thin affair. As usual, my arse is parked precariously on a bar stool.
Mitch duly trolls up at the appointed time. It’s good to see him again. We always have dead interesting chats. This time, as so often, it turns to history. I express my fear that future historians will have very little hard information about the current crop of breweries. Mostly because brewers don’t have brewing ledgers like in the old days. Electronic records, in particular, are likely to get lost.
Mitch has expounded on our chat here:
It's a theme that should be adressed before vital information is lost.
We share a few beers, eat a little, but don’t make it too late.
Back at my hotel, I force myself to stay awake another couple of hours. Watching some crap TV. When I do jump in bed, sleep comes quickly, emptying my overexcited mind like an unplugged sink.
The Porter Beer Bar
1156 Euclid Ave NE,
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