Well... It has been quite a long time since I've travelled on a plane for an extended period of work. Most of the last year has been working in the Netherlands, if there was any work at all!
However, this project made it through planning and is actually going to make it to the travel and rehearsal stage! However, thre are still quite a number of days before the recording and performance, so things are still hanging by a thread as it appears that it any of us show up with a positive test result in any day then the whole project will likely be cancelled!
Having made it to this stage does mean that I'll at least get paid though...
It is strange to think that this was my regular routine, making the walk from home to airport... Disliking the nights of sleeping away from home and family.
At the very least, because of all the extra corona tests, the orchestra is flying me out a day earlier than normal... Which means that I have a relaxed start that isn't at the crack of dawn... And I have an evening in the hotel before I'm cleared to work on the next day.
Actually, it has even been quite a long time since I've ridden on a train to go between cities! These days, it is just easier to take the car instead of potentially exposing ourselves to getting sick... after all, getting sick means losing all work as a freelancer!
In normal times, the departure board is completely full with lots of flights hanging off the end of the last screen. Schiphol airport is one of the European travel hubs, so it was quite a bit of a surprise to find that only a few of the screens were being used... and this was the rest of the day (this photo was just after lunch!). Normally, it is a pain in the arse to find your flight in the mess of flights... however, today, it was pretty easy to find where I needed to go!
All the automatic baggage check-ins were closed, I guess that would be so that they wouldn't need to keep cleaning them after each use... or maybe it was to give the staff something to do. As I checked in, there were about 8 people on the check in desks... for four passengers!
One great thing is that there is no security line to speak of! I don't think I've ever had a more pleasant security line up! In fact, I had a whole scanner and a team of 7 people all just for me! It does get quite hiliarious...
The restaurants and cafes are still open, with reduced eating and additional seperation measures. Again, in some ways it was quite pleasant to have so much space to myself... in a place that would normally be crowded with passengers of varying degrees of stress and tiredness, to have peace and quiet... wow!
The entire airport was eerily quiet... if I was here in the evening, it would be definitely a bit creepy with all the space and emptiness and so few people. It would be like the start of a horror film or something like that... especially if the power and the lights went out or something!
Meanwhile, the plane was relatively full... well, more full than I had expected given the vast emptiness of the airport. None of the middle seats were taken and everyone was wearing a mask. I really hope that no-one on the plane tests positive... however, at the back of the plane there was a group of young football players who just didn't seem to give a crap... probably hit all the red-light places in Amsterdam and got themselves all manner of diseases... as long as it wasn't Corona, they can do whatever they want!
It's weird that I've not flown for such a long time... this used to be a regular occurrence, something that I would be doing multiple times a month with various orchestras and ensembles. I don't miss the travelling, I never like that... I also don't enjoy sleeping in hotels... but I do miss playing in concert halls around the world.
Something else that I miss was my upgraded Frequent Flyer bonuses... when you travel so much, you start to work your way up the levels and perks. However, with no flying since roughly March last year, all my bonuses have reset... and I'm left with the bog-standard no perks Explorer package on my Flying Blue membership! I almost forgot about that and nearly went to the priority boarding! Sigh... that will take quite some time to get back!
So, arrived at the hotel... technically I'm quarantined until I get tested by the medical team. However, I forgot that I needed to teach! Thankfully, the Corona time has meant that most of my students are online anyway... so, I can just teach from a different country (Maths and Physics) and it won't be a problem! I just hope the hotel wifi in combination with a VPN holds up to video streaming!