Killing time with dullness
USUALLY travel is exciting. But from time to time there are dull patches. When you've got an eight-hour stopover at a place like Charles de Gaulle Airport for instance.
I usually try to fill in the time with a mix of reading, walking round the terminal, watching TV, having a nap if there's somewhere suitable and doing a bit of writing. But now, thanks to a tip from a dull colleague, I've got the Dull Men's Club website to help.
This proclaims itself to be, "A place in cyberspace where dull men - and women who appreciate dull men - can share thoughts and experiences about ordinary things."
It's also a place full of dull thoughts about travel, including an impressively lacklustre review of Alain de Botton's book The Art of Travel. "We like this book," says the reviewer. "It deals with a question we often ask ourselves: why bother travelling? De Botton, who was writing part of this book while on a trip to Barbados, wonders whether he might not have been happier reading brochures and looking at the BA Worldwide Timetable. Is he one of us?"
The website includes recommendations compiled by members of tedious things like slow races (worms, slugs, goldfish, book carts), boring traffic roundabouts, drab carparking projects, museums of very ordinary things (aprons, asphalt, carrots, candy wrappers) and webcams which allow you to see dull places abroad without the need to travel.
But the lowlight - which I'm thrilled comatose by - is the special report on worldwide luggage carousels. "As you are waiting by the carousel, you will be wondering which way should you be looking for your bags. You can prepare for this ahead of time using our Worldwide Report on Airport Luggage Carousels - Clockwise or Counterclockwise."
This is fascinatingly dull stuff. Did you know that the carousel goes anti-clockwise at Tirana Rinas Mother Teresa Airport in Albania. But in Zimbabwe's Harare Airport it's clockwise. This offers endless opportunities for filling in the time. I'm hoping shortly to visit Sydney where the carousels are reported to go anti-clockwise. But is this correct? You can count on me to check. The only problem is, how do you work out whether a carousel is clockwise or anti-clockwise if you've only got a digital watch? I wonder if the Dull Men's Club has any suggestions?