Saturday, November 18, 2006

Another bad experience at Heathrow. Landed from Geneva on time and then spent 40 minutes waiting for a parking place. The same thing happened last time I came in from Geneva. This airport is barely functioning. Rapid dash through flight connections where an Australian couple in front of me had their empty drinks container taken from them and thrown into a large bin by the security staff. It reminded me of the time when I was going through Heathrow just after the latest inexplicable security restrictions came in. I dutifully obeyed the instruction to remove my laptop from its bag, only to be stopped by a guard because I now had two pieces of hand luggage – the laptop and the bag. He insisted I put it back in the bag and walk past him and then remove it again for screening! Insane or what?
Anyway, just caught my flight to Cape Town, where I have two meetings – Johnson & Johnson’s Global Health Advisory Committee and the annual conference of the Oxford Health Alliance. After an overnight flight I finally get to my hotel and unpack my bags, to be reminded of where I had just come from. In Switzerland I had gone out to dinner in a local restaurant which, like nearly all Swiss restaurants was full of cigarette smoke. Even though the ban on smoking in public places has yet to enter into force in England, it is already seen as unacceptable in many restaurants to smoke. Not so in Switzerland. From out of my suitcase came the strong smell of stale smoke. I wonder whether smokers ever realise just how awful their clothes smell. Or maybe the damage that the smoke does to their nasal epithelium means that they just don’t notice it.