Sunday, 5 August 2007

In transit entertainment

Eurostar - what a doddle. After the boy's five and a half hour bellow at 30 million feet on the night flight back from Boston, three hours on a train between Paris and London flew by so to speak.

Maybe it's because we're familiar with the journey, maybe it's the fact that we can all see the ground speeding past. Whatever it was both parents agreed that a long haul trip every now and again is an excellent if painful way to put travel into perspective.

Last night's train was quite full but with most people locked into their digital worlds, very few noticed the gurglings of a 16-month-old child.

The grumblings of an eight-year-old and a five-year-old are by comparison easier to remedy. The girls were keen to listen to a CD played incessantly in the car during our three and a half weeks in America.

When I told them it was actually in the car in London, they were naturally disappointed but intrigued when I said that we could recreate the sounds from the iTunes library

So minutes passed by trying to remember the order in which they came. No problems with the first as the CD is known as the one with Voulez Vous. The second is in fact the Basement Jaxx's Red Alert.

They like it because it starts with something that sounds like the swansong of a Swiss mountaineer: "Yo yo yo, yo yo, yo yo......

Eventually they compiled most of the tunes; Boogie Wonderland, Spacer, You Can't Hurry Love, a few from Madonna, Vogue and Into the Groove. Even though it wasn't the complete replication, they sat and listened for 44.9 minutes (iTune timing).

The boy meanwhile was slumbering in a corridor. A contrast to his performance on the flight the previous week where it got so bad that one of the stewards emerged from his darkened haven and offered us a small bottle of whisky recounting how his mother used to daub it on his gums as a way of easing teething pains.

Well it certainly worked. Two hours later as we hovered above Charles de Gaulle on the final approach, the boy fell asleep.

Touchdown, at least, was tranquil.

If I could get away with it I too would scream throughout a flight. Sadly I'm not as adorably cute as the boy.

I can now see why some people load up on the drinks. We had precious little entertainment. The films — Breach and The Bourne Identity — weren't exactly appropriate for all passengers.

I guess bosses at American Airlines think that the youngsters will be sleeping.

Have they never travelled with their babies?