August 5th, 2006

Fishy Circumstances


I stood in line for an hour and a quarter at Heathrow yesterday before checking in. The first forty-five minutes were dull. We shuffled along slowly, tugging at carts and bags. Passengers for flights near takeoff time were called forward in groups now and again. One of those announcements happened after I'd been waiting in line for forty-five minutes.

"Yerevan, Fishgate, or Phoenix!" the line manager called. "Yerevan, Fishgate, or Phoenix!" A murmur went around the long, winding line. "Did he say Fishcase?" "Bishgate?" "Where's Fishgate?" I could hear it all around me, and I didn't know either.

A few minutes later he came back around to our part of the line and a woman a few line-strands ahead of me asked him. "Where's Bishgate?" He didn't know, but was enterprising, asking the line loudly, "Anyone know where Fishgate is?" A man checking in (quite possibly to that destination) turned around with a smile. "It's in central Asia."

Even when the announcements for the destination ended, odd bouts of conversation still caught my ear. When eventually I checked in, I asked how it was spelled. "I think it's in Azerbaijian, but I'm not certain." replies the check-in agent, writing it out for me on a scrap of paper. It wasn't Fishgate at all, but Bisckek.

Bishkek (spelling via websearch) is the capital of Kyrgystan. I'll remember now.

I've safely arrived in New York and Connecticut. The only casualty of the trip was leaving my jacket at the gate at Heathrow. Thanks to travel time, I've now seen Take the Lead (I knew the subway station reminded me of Toronto) and Over the Hedge(better than the preview).