Thanks to this book that Rebecca bought for me, I know not to say “chin chin” in Japan! Apparently it’s slang for ‘penis’. So it’ll be “kanpai” (cheers) all the way!

It’s been about 2½ years since I’ve flown anywhere. At least, I think Dublin was the last time I flew anywhere. Anyway, quite weird considering how much flying I’ve done in the past.

Excited but still massively nervous about how little I’ve done and the presentation and interviews I have to do. Feel unprepared and like I don’t deserve this opportunity and someone else should have it. Someone who works harder.

But it’s my name on the ticket and in the programme so I just have to suck it up and hopefully come out with something worthwhile.

Part of what I find so difficult is narrowing it down. As far as I’m concerned, until the wealth inequality and power relations are sorted, we’re not going to do anything but talk about what could be achieved. And the likelihood of wealth and power being shared?

So how am I supposed to write something worthwhile about community based DRR and CCA? Maybe I’m not. Maybe I’m supposed to come out with something depressing.

Laptops must be removed from bags. Liquids need to be in a clear plastic bag. Why? No one can or wants to tell you. They just tell you that they have to be in a clear plastic bag, which you can buy: 4 for £1. So I bought them, swore and muttered a fair bit, and then took as long as I could to put everything back into my rucksack. Shame the airport isn’t busy enough for me to have created an enormous queue.

So after I email whoever it is that has a cafe at Shrewsbury train station to complain that they don’t have soy milk, I’ll be contacting all airports and airlines to find out why exactly we have to use clear plastic bags for liquids, and why they don’t provide said plastic bags in this ridiculous farce apparently fighting terrorism. On a brighter note, Cafe Ritazza are in my good books because they do have soy milk.

First flight was fairly uneventful: took off, flew, landed. The clouds over Wales were pretty: looked just like an enormous cotton wool blanket. Holland is so flat. Stating the obvious I know, but with climate change imminent, you begin to wonder what their plan is. Sea levels will rise and they’re already pretty damn low. And there are huge flat fields (I presume growing all those tomatoes that taste of nothing) which are going to more soil erosion, higher wind speeds, flooding, etc.

Anyways, the KLM lady in Cardiff told me she couldn’t see my special meal booked so to check when I get to Schippol. I go up to one of the transfer desks in the airport and the lady there also tells me she can’t see a special meal booked for me and there’s nothing she can do about it but if I go to the gate, they might be able to. Off to the gate where I explain for the third time that I called and booked the meal and it was confirmed; only to be told again that I didn’t have one booked but they’d see what they could do. (I did get my food, but seriously, should it be this complicated?!)

Found Liv and Shaun at the gate and they said everyone else was in a bar somewhere in the airport. We’ve ended up in seats all over the plane because we’ve all travelled different routes and checked in separately. There was an empty seat next to me though so Komal moved into that one. Watched Green Lantern (pretty awful) and Midnight in Paris (good fun).

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