Planes, trains and automobiles (ok, buses)

As if leaving Boston wasn’t hard enough emotionally and logistically, the journey to Prague was its own epic.  The *plan* was to fly to Prague via Frankfurt.  On landing in Frankfurt, the airport was promptly closed thanks to the volcanic ash.  So, the journey took a new course.

First, collect the cat from the cargo area.  Done.

Next, retrieve bags.  Not done.  Apparently, Lufthansa insists on the privilege of delivering your bags to your final destination.  Versus releasing them on their own recognizance to you.  Frankfurt felt pretty final that day when it came to air travel.

Next, secure a train ticket somehow to Prague.  Done (after 2 hours).  Actually, take a train to Nuremburg, then a bus to Prague.

This was last Friday.  Today is Monday.  Virtually nobody has crossed the Atlantic on a plane to Europe since, let alone within Europe.

All of this made me reflect on the fragility of our global – for lack of a better term – “supply chain”.  We have so accelerated our pace of movement of people and goods, whether it’s for business or pleasure, that any delay is received as catastrophic.  Imagine 100 years ago when the only way to cross the Atlantic was by boat.  Over the course of a week.

Such episodes drive us further to rely on electronic connections in lieu of physical movement.  Why ship a book when it can be printed on-demand at your local bookseller?  And this connectivity concentrates the risk of depending on that same internet.

I’m not sure what do to about the risk.  Only that we should always be thinking about what we rely on, whether we take it for granted, and how we would sorely miss it if not available.

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3 thoughts on “Planes, trains and automobiles (ok, buses)

  1. So getting here (Prague) was a challenge, and you were somewhat thwarted by the German efficiency of Lufthansa…

    You’re here now and hopefully getting settled in. Good luck to both you and Nicole in this more. Interesting experience of cultures, opportunities …

    If I’m planning to be in Prague I’ll look you up for some of that fantastic Czech beer.

  2. Love reading about the expatriate treck, Don.

    I agree on “global supply chain.” It seems that modern society pursue macro-economic supply chains that suffer from bad single points of failure. It makes me wonder what other single points of failure there are for critical services: oil and gas, electricity, food, water and so on.

    Redundancy isn’t something that naturally comes about in a free market on that scale (it does on smaller scales). Anti-monopoly helps, but a fully redundant transport system that can take the brunt of every flyer in Europe immediately is tough…

    …and I hear now that many European airlines may go under as a result too.

    Ok — enough doom and gloom. How’s Prague itself and the digs?

  3. Couldn’t more agree on the last words . Another proofpoint is the latest McAfee false positive. The Bedford office stopped working for several hours.

    Please keep sharing the Kafkaian experiences.

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