What a difference a modern aircraft and entertainment system can make on a trans Atlantic flight. My outbound flight had a near-nonfunctional entertainment system. Today’s aircraft has touch screens! Oh joy.
I stumbled upon some surprisingly good viewing options. First up, a two part documentary picturing the Obamas (about the two dazzling Obama portraits) that had me teary at times. I remember going to see them at the National Portrait Gallery and spending most of my time watching people looking at them, taking photos of themselves beside them, crying. It was profoundly moving.
This doc followed the portraits as they went on tour in five cities (including my new home in Chicago). It was fascinating to see how the five different museums created educational , cultural and marketing efforts around the portraits visit, coming up with so many interesting ways to entice people who often don’t feel welcome in high art institutions to visit and better yet, to feel comfortable and connect with the place and its art. I particularly loved watching the kids look at the portraits.
There were also illuminating interviews with Amy sherod and Kehinde Wiley, the two portrait painters whose work I have sought out ever since seeing those portraits. And of course there were fond images and footage from the hope and change Obama years.
I also found a good Austin city lights type show, I guess the Irish version called Other Voices and watched one episode filmed in a tiny church in isolated dingle peninsula with St. Vincent doing acoustic and in Austin with Margo Price. Both excellent. Another episode had a very young amy winehouse in 2006 singing to maybe 30 people. Cannot imagine!Even the food was a step up from the previous flight. Not stellar but edible.
I was confused by the layover in the Dublin airport because it seemed like a completely different place from the airport I passed though on my outbound trip and in January when I connected thru Dublin en route to Paris and Madrid. This time I had 4 hours to kill. And we had to go though security twice (pulling out our toiletries and electronics again) when we arrived and when we left, which seemed odd. We’d already sent our stuff through the conveyor belt in Frankfurt. Why did we need to do it before entering the Dublin airport and before leaving it? I don’t remember that from our previous trip and considering how tight those connecting flights were we might have been in trouble making our next flight. I talked with the security guys at the second check point snd they said something about this being new and a trial run for two months. I don’t get the thinking.
I did understand this time, unlike the past trip, that we were going though u.s. immigration/customs in Dublin, which is fabulous because it means when we land in Chicago, no long lines. (And there was NO line in Dublin.) It’s like leaving the airport after a domestic flight. Apparently Ireland is one of the few airports with this (ore- clearance, I think it’s called) and I’m I curious how it came about.
During the layover, I also was in one of those shopping mall/food hall type spaces to wait which was completely different from the previous trips where we were in a relatively bare bones gate area with few amenities (shops, restaurants). So it was confusing. Not the airport I remembered from just 4 days ago, let alone two months ago.