The Layover

Traveling for years prior to my first trip abroad gave me the illusion that I knew what it meant to travel. Having been around the United States, I believed that I knew what traveling was, but it wasn’t until my trip to Europe that I became acquainted with a myriad of cultures and customs seldom, if ever, seen back in America. It’s not to say that I think America doesn’t have culture or customs, it’s just that it’s of a different quality in Europe. What made traveling to Europe so interesting too was the different perspectives Europeans saw everyday facets of life.

Even though the first country I was supposed to visit was Holland, my first experience in Europe came when I was in Frankfurt, Germany for a layover. I walked out of the plane and the first thing that I had to deal with on German soil was passport control. In my experience I find that the Germans are rather lax when it comes to foreigners entering Germany, much more laid back than it is back at home. For every question I had to answer when entering Germany, I had to answer ten when returning to the States.

After having my passport stamped I walked past the control area, making my way to the next terminal where I was to catch my next flight to Amsterdam. As I was walking I noticed an advertisement (what it was advertising I don’t remember) with a picture of this lady, topless. Something like this, although it would be every advertisers dream to realize, considering a topless lady would turn more heads than a lady wearing a bikini, could never be conceived back in the States. All I could muster up was a smile, admiring the Germans and their indifference to nudity.

After passing the nude advertisement I noticed that within the Frankfurt airport there were little, closed off, cubed areas surrounded by glass, complete with ventilation, where one could smoke a cigarette. I had time to kill, as my flight wasn’t leaving for another hour and a half, so I decided to take advantage of these facilities.

I entered the cube, sliding the glass door open then closing it upon entering. Although it was a designated smoking area, the cube wasn’t completely consumed in the smell of cigarettes, as there was ventilation to take care of the excess smoke.

“Do you have a light?” I asked the only man in the cube while he was scrolling through his cell phone. He pulled out a light and handed it to me. As I lit my cigarette I realized that Europe was going to be much different from life back home. And it was, but I find that no matter how much I become further enamored with Europe, America will always be my home.

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