The airport slowly filled as the time for the Oslo flight approached. Perhaps not oddly, announcements were only in Norwegian. Our flight was late; we boarded in the polite crush of humanity (orderly lines?), with constant Norwegian broken only by “have a good trip!” when the agent saw my passport.
The short flight was uneventful; I landed again in Oslo – third time in a week – and waited to collect my luggage so I could bring it to Icelandair. Longer than expected, but at least I knew what I was doing this time, so it was up the elevator to find the Icelandair counter.
Secured forward aisle seats, as I prefer, and headed through security. This time, my camera bag attracted no notice (coming it it was checked for explosives), and I turned right, out of security for International flights, rather than left for domestic. It was time to find an outlet.
Passengers are neatly funneled into the duty free shop, but I managed to avoid that, and found the Kon Tiki restaurant, where despite its exotic name, I was able to find a relatively dull tuna fish sandwich, chocolate croissant, and bottle of water. I noticed a bunch of people along the back with laptops, and as I got closer found that outlet were provided next to the seats, so I settled in for a while. Wifi was again 99 NOK for two hours, or about US $16. Chatted with Karl Otto and Lars Ivar, with Andrew who’d just started a new job in London, Adam in London, and with Nik in Manchester, UK. Fun way to pass the time.
Finally wandered off to find my gate, and waited not too long to board. I was in the midst of a crowd of Icelandic women who all knew each other. I asked the one sitting next to me if Iceland was really that small that everyone really did know each other, or if it was a group. She laughed and said it was a group of Icelandic woman who’d gone to norway to hear Billy Graham’s daughter speak on religion. ah. I asked what she thought of Norwegian prices, and again she laughed. She’d hoped it would have been less expensive than Iceland, but in fact the prices were about the same.
We chatted a bit about Iceland – she was from Hafnarfjordur, the town between the airport and Reykjavík. Ah, I chuckled, so that’s how it’s pronounced 🙂 And she asked what I though of Iceland, since I’d told her I’d been 8 or 9 times. it was great! I said 🙂 She said she had to ask, because Icelanders are a bit self- conscious about their country, and the joke is that when you’re getting off the plane, someone is there asking “what do you think of iceland!?!?!”
Fun indeed, but I noticed the row behind me had on only one person by the window, so I excused myself from my seatmate, and moved back – more room for us all. We took off. I think there was food; it was … uninspiring. Once I was able to, I pulled out my macbook, and started going through my best images to make a slideshow for work. Midway through, I got the spinning beachball — waiting. I waited. And I waited. cmd-opt-esc (think ctrl-alt-del) did nothing, even after the 40th time, so I powered off.
Powering on didn’t do much, until I saw a blinking folder and question mark. That didn’t seem like a good sign, so I tried rebooting again, and got the same. hmmm. I tucked macbook under a blanket in the middle seat, and I tried to sleep as well.
We landed in Reykjavík, I went through passport control (since I was leaving Europe), and proceeded to find an outlet. There are two that I know of – one on the far left of the terminal near gate 29, on the wall next to a chair, but that was taken, so I tried the second one, which is a bit beyond the shop selling chocolate towards the gates that never seem to have any flights. Also next to a chair, and unoccupied.
I pulled out the install CDs, inserted, and booted from them, without a problem, so I figured the mac itself was fine. Sadly, Disk Utility could not find the internal hard drive. That was not so good. Packed up, got some chocolate, and went to sit next near my gate. I ended up next to a Norwegian woman who was visiting various relatives in the US, and had in fact come from Finnmark, further north than even Tromsø.
As we were nearing boarding time, the power went off. It was still light outside, so it wasn’t that bad inside. Maybe someone called in a bomb threat chuckled my new norwegian friend. I looked around, and edged away slowly. There was more bemusement than panic (ok, there was no panic), and after 10 minutes or so the power came on. After a few more minutes an alarm sounded, calming telling everyone there was a fire on the first level. Having been to university, and having been roused from sleep by a shower-steam activated smoke detector in Tromsø, I decided to stay put, as did most others.
A few people moved outside (as requested by the authoritative voice in the fire announcement), but were herded back in after a few minutes. We finally boarded. We took off, we ate mediocre food, fully filled out customs forms in capital letter so as not to delay our inspection as passport control, and finally landed. To my surprise, I was second in line, and after enduring some questions by a completely emotionless border patrol officer (“welcome back.”), headed to get the luggage.
It arrived, I headed back to my apartment, arriving at 6:45, and at 6:50 had an appointment at the apple store at 7:40 for my mac. Got there early as requested, and was told there was a 20 minute delay … as expected. About 30 minutes later, it was my turn… and the Genius immediately turned to a card-carrying pro-care member to help her schedule a standby appointment, then to the woman on my right to get her powerbook she’d come to pick up.
I told him I got the blinking folder and question mark. “Cool.” he said, apparently because getting something was better than getting nothing. The woman on my right tried to get her powerbook to start up, and it didn’t, so he helped her a bit, hoping I’d understand. er, like I had a choice? He verified that starting the mac couldn’t find the drive, and that booting from an external FireWire drive also didn’t find the drive, though it appeared to be making noises.
He brought it in the back, to attempt to reseat the drive, but that failed, so he replaced it. “2 minutes to replace, 10 minutes for the paperwork.” So, the good thing is that I’d done a full backup of the system before I’d left for vermont, and had no data on it (work data stays at work, home data stays on a RAID NAS in Vermont), so the only thing I’d lost was … 15GB of vacation photos. Fortunately, the the good ones had all been uploaded to flickr (about 200); the ones I’d lost were mostly duplicates, or ones which were not quite as good as the ones I’d uploaded.
So the current plan is now to travel with a spare, bootable firewire drive. I’ll transfer photos nightly as a backup, and in the (hopefully) unlikely event of another macbook disk failure, I’ll still be able to boot from the firewire drive and then copy photos from the SD cards to it. ah, what fun. And now on Thursday, I can see if my backup can actually be restored to the macbook. If not, I’ll just use the Migration Assistant to transfer apps, etc. from my iMac to macbook.
My thanks again to Lars Ivar and Karl Otto for being great hosts, tour guides and friends. I look forward to returning to Norway next year!