Thursday, June 14, 2007

In The Tunnel

The worst rainstorm I’ve seen in a long time. Brussels is underwater, quite literally and a procession of drowned rats are arriving, like me, in the Eurostar terminal, trying to catch the earlier train back to Ashford and London.

Having queued for thirty minutes in the hope that I might just get on the 18:00 train, I finally reach the desk to be told that I have to pay a supplement to change my ticket. Of course in true Euro-style, this transaction has to take place behind another very long queue at the ticket office rather than the check-in line and so it’s goodbye to the 18:00 train and wait instead for the 20:28.

Ironically, I had shown my ticket in the original queue, to the very same girl who took over the check-in desk as I arrived. Now why she couldn’t have told me at the beginning of a twenty-minute shuffle is a mystery but I’m not impressed.

A little later, I come back to the Eurostar check-in to sit down after a wander around the station. There’s a large unattended bag in the waiting area and after a while I point it out to the teenager on the check-in barrier. He shrugs and tells me that people often leave bags and come back later to collect them. A comforting thought and a reminder that passenger security is tougher for Eurostar passengers coming from England and not going the other way or at least it appears so. Eventually, a large African appears, collects his huge green and white striped bag, large enough to contain a whole Hippopotamus, and wanders off out of the terminal.

Photos of Madeleine McCann are visible everywhere. While Belgium isn’t Portugal, we should remember that several of the worst paedophile atrocities of recent years have taken place in this country and perhaps there’s a suspicion that a Belgian ‘Traveller’ may have been involved in the abduction or at least that what the FBI Special Agent, called them in a presentation I was in this afternoon.

The Japanese-American FBI agent ‘M’ would not have been out of place on the flight deck of the starship ‘Enterprise’. I’ve met quite a few of them from the cybercrime division now, super-intelligent, high-achievers, often with a string of different academic degrees under their belts and frequently a previous career connection to the military before joining the Agency. What you might not know though, is that there are only 100 of them to deal with ‘every’ cybercrime-related case that exists, which explains, given the rapidly growing the caseload, why ecrime is a relatively safe and lucrative pursuit for organised criminal gangs.

Thanet’s ‘Big day’ in twenty-four hours and I have to sort out the banner for Sunday’s flypast. I’m not entirely optimistic about the weather on a busy weekend. Sunshine and showers I think!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some heavy rain pulses in Birchington and Westgate between 1600-1800 dropped 33.3 mm according to Birchington weather station!