Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Primo Levi's words put a 50-minute delay into context

This week's INM Irish regional newspapers' column.

Michael Commane
Early morning flights out of Dublin are not for the fainthearted.

It was the 07.20 Ryanair service to Berlin. It meant getting out of the bed at 04.15. The taxi fare from Dundrum to the airport was €17 short of the return Dublin Berlin ticket. We certainly live in a strange and unexplainable world.

It appears Monday mornings are the busiest in the week at the airport. 

The queue at security seems endless but it did end and everyone was on the plane shortly after 07.00. Schedule departure time is 07.20. Michael O'Leary would be delighted with the efficiency of the staff. And all done in a seamless fashion. It was a full plane. 

Monday October 3 was a national holiday in Germany. The Germans celebrate national unity every year on that date. Last year it was on a Sunday. Tough luck for the Germans. No free day on the Monday.

It seemed everyone on the plane was German, taking advantage of the free Monday.

All passengers sitting in their seats, ready for take off. The plane is pushed back from the stand. It's bye bye Dublin. Or is it?

The plane creeps along. Then sometime around 07.30 the pilot tells us we are in a queue and there would be a delay in taking off. There are 11 planes ahead of us. He keeps us well informed. It is approximately 08.10 before the wheels leave the ground. Never before experienced such a delay at Dublin Airport but one of the cabin crew tells me that is how it is every morning at that time.

We eventually arrive in Berlin Schönefeld at 11.00 German time. Ryanair must hate that sort of delay as it causes knock-on delays. They take pride in extra short turn-arounds but any hi-cough and the proverbial hits the fan.

I was sitting beside a couple from Wismar, which is in north Germany, a city in the former East German State.

They had been in Dublin for the weekend. It was their first time in Ireland and they had enjoyed themselves. They stayed in a hotel in the north inner city, found it somewhat expensive. They were generally positive about Dublin but were surprised to see so many empty and dilapidated buildings. They'd come back and would like to visit the south west of Ireland.

Wismar is not far from the former west east border. People in the east are still earning less than their fellow citizens in the west. They told me they know people who travel a 90-minute return train journey every day to Lübeck in the west where they earn significantly more money. Different rates of pay for the same job happen not just in Ireland.

I was on a five-day visit to the German capital with a friend, who had never been in the city.

Later that day we visited the Memorial to The Murdered Jews of Europe. It is in the heart of the city, near the Brandenburg Gate.

The memorial was opened on May 12, 2005 and consists of 2,711 concrete blocks over an area of 19,000 square metres. There has been controversy about the memorial. Walking through it, getting lost inside it, gives one a tiny glimpse of the terror of Nazi tyranny.

There is also an information centre which chronicles some of the horror that millions of people suffered.

Inside the main door is a quote from Primo Levi:
"It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say."

A 50-minute delay at Dublin Airport is little to worry about.

1 comment:

Póló said...

You might be interested in my four day visit to Berlin a while back if you have not already seen it.