Summer in disuse II: when we smoked on airplanes
The change of legislation, Internet and the new habits of travelers have relegated to the trunk of the old memories of our imaginary figures such as bus ashtrays, the traveler checks waves collect calls. It hasn't been that long, but let's admit it: we've changed. And they have aged. From here, we make a posthumous tribute to all those uses and customs that accompanied us on our first trips (After analyzing the disused summers on the beaches). From the time of planning the 'overseas' getaway to the post-trip, photo albums included.
Gone are those days when the agencies were a kind of gurus and achiever when going on vacation. The normal thing was that you ordered the entire package (maybe they would have suggested it to the destination) and that you left there with a itinerary programmed to the millimeter. So much so that there were people who went to New York for fifteen days on a full board basis.
In some cases (the least) you bought only the ticket, perhaps because you had a friend who lived in London or cousins who moved to Geneva. Then a young lady (almost always a young lady), with microphones that came out of her ear, called Amadeus to consult all possible combinations (eye, to go in Renfe or Alsa, it also worked like this).
Then came the choice between smoker / non smoker, which was not exclusive for airplanes, but also for buses (remember metal ashtrays with stripes on the front seat) and trains, as well as at airports, hotels and restaurants. Normally he joined the most vicious in the back, until in 1999 Iberia banned lighting the cigarette on all its flights.
Once the route was decided, it was time for the broadcast, which used to be a very serious moment, with many nerves and holding hands and looking at the sky saying very simple phrases like "God willing on July 15 we will travel to Paris." It wasn't for less, because when it was done, there was no turning back. And there were no ticket prices at the time preRyanair (the first medieval airline) to walk with cancellations. In the case of the plane, it consisted of a kind of multi-leaf booklet with red tracing paper and a world map on the cover which could be filled by hand and passed through a "cod". You better not forget it or overlap it, because without the physical ticket, you stayed on the ground, and the weeping and grinding of teeth were not worth it.
The crazy travel agency of 'A stroke of luck' © D.R.
You could pay by card, of course, but it was more usual to do it in cash or with the lovely checks of the Banco Hispano "bearer" or in the name of "Viajes Marsans". Of all the means of payment, the most vintage, without any doubt, remain the famous Traveler check, only for the most sophisticated. It consisted of some heels with preset amounts, very historized and elegant, which you ordered at the bank and were changed at destination, upon payment of a commission.
The most reckless dared to make the currency exchange here and they took it in cash: you just had to ask the bank a few days in advance. To settle with the local currency of each of the European countries (when the ecu was still no more than a chimera), the most common was to carry in the wallet some cardboard with some tables that crossed and gave you the value in pesetas. Especially useful resulted in places like Italy, whose monetary system was always a reflection of the madness of the country and there was no one to clarify with the thousands of lire that cost an ice cream of cciocolato. The other option was to load the calculator (when the lots were invented this option experienced a spectacular rise) and take it out in front of the counter to check what it was spending (and prove that you were a modern, too).
With your bag on your back (and without wheels) in 'Mystery Train' © D.R. Mystery Train
MAKING THE SUITCASE (AND CALLS)
We haven't talked about luggage yet. And this, of course, implies doing so mythical leather suitcases with straps and without wheels Alfredo Landa, now claimed by the hipster (and equally uncomfortable). They were also the last shout the you need gigantic, practically the size of the current cabin suitcases, where family boats were carried (today impossible to pass them by the control) and even the jewelers.
Not to mention the unsightly bum bags (perhaps the worst Italian invention of all time) or of those transparent bags that hung around the neck where the passport was carried, the address of the cousins of Geneva or ... Phone cards To call home when you arrive at the airport! Because, that was another, if you didn't do it, it was a sign that something terrible had happened. In plain plan you could opt for collect calls (Of course, if you traveled abroad, you had to learn the phrase in English: Can I make a collect call to Spain?). Finally you could pull the most traditional option and go to the cabin, where huge queues formed at rush hour, and where there was always a rumor that there was one in particular that did not "swallow the coins."
Safe and sound, already at destination, you put on your Sneakers (because "you were going to walk all day") and you were on your shoulder the classic bag of Travel Julia or Marsans Travel colored ski, which was amortized during the following decades. Inside: the keys (yes, keys) of your hotel and your walkman with several tapes (which would be the music of the trip), which you had collected during the last months of the radio or with a max mix of greatest hits, remixed. Then it was mandatory to go through the Spanish restaurant where a friend of a friend of yours had worked, with whom you took pictures to show your friend. Which of course you revealed on the way back. And that you stuck in an album with subway tickets and witty phrases. And in the reel cylinders you had used, you kept the coins you had left over.
* You may also be interested ...
- Disused summers I: the beaches
- All articles of Arantxa Neyra
Do you remember phone cards to call in a booth? Doctor Who no © D.R. 'Doctor Who'