Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column coming at you from 33,000 feet above the Atlantic, after an early morning DIA experience that was enough to make anyone’s toenails curl. But before we get into that, we’d like to propose using an abbreviation for our world-famous tagline, as per above, just for the sake of brevity. So from now on, when you see GMAWTSUTWODCT, it should be enough to send our readers into spasms of uncontrollable laughter and mirth.So back to DIA, where after paying several thousand dollars for international jet travel, our airline (which shall remain unnamed, so that they don’t cancel our return ticket) expected us to do the work of checking ourselves in. We wonder, what is it exactly that we’re paying for? It’ not the food, we KNOW that. And it’s not the service either, which is sullen at best. We think you could probably get better service on a Phoenician slave galley. And when was the last time anyone can remember seeing a really hot flight attendant, either?So at the DIA check-in line, they have one guy servicing two lines, and our intrepid international correspondent was asked to print out his own boarding passes by entering all the relevant data on a slow-to-react touch screen, all while trying to reprogram junior’s PSP, and making sure that no one walks off with the baggage. This wouldn’t be so bad, but it was kind of annoying that we had waited previously for 30 minutes in the check-in line, and whilst we were touch-screening, at least five other people who arrived after us were being whisked through the process by another airline rep. We just don’t think that’s fair, but couldn’t complain on the spot since we were sure if we did that our luggage would end up in Halifax.And then we got the look of death when we asked for a pen to fill out a luggage tag!So has anyone else noticed how these “Sky Mall” duty-free catalogues have become really thick? Used to be that maybe they’d be selling watches, or maybe a box of chocolates, reading glasses, a pen set, items that seemed to be at least somehow vaguely related to travel. Nowadays, these catalogues are full of things you never even knew you needed, like an upside-down “hanging tomato garden.” Furniture, inflatable hot tubs … we just wonder how they get all that stuff on the plane and still have room for everyone’s’ baggage. What else? We wrote ’em down for you: Fresh flowers, a sea scooter, digital 3-D eyewear, the world’s largest crossword puzzle, a safari solar hat (with a little photovoltaic panel on top powering a little fan; we bought one of these), a three-in-one rotary game table, miracle Tupperware that makes your food last three times longer (we could have used one of these before our trip, seeing as how we left a few questionable items in the fridge), indoor-outdoor carpet, and even a Hummer laptop.But things looked up as we arrived in Germany just in time for World Cup fever. We have never seen so many people with flags painted on their faces. This thing is like a month-long Super Bowl and you gotta love a country where, when you order a beer, it shows up in a one-liter mug. That’s the regular, not the super-size! And things get better. Our far-flung correspondent hooks up with some Mexicans from Colorado, and shows them his favorite beer garden, tucked away in a hidden courtyard, as well as mad King Ludwig’s tomb. He was the 18th century monarch who ransacked the royal Bavarian treasury and built all these crazy castles like Neuschwanstein, the model for the Disney castle. So our new-found amigos tell us they have some extra ducats for their WC opener, versus Iran. Turns out that four of their party of 12 couldn’t make the trip. They had sold two fo the tix already, paying for most of their trip, so they invite our field agent to join them for the game. All that remained was to find some giant sombreros and cheer like crazy.
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