Entering Italy, coming back from abroad, is always a strange thing. At first, there is this strong feeling that everything is a comedy, some sort of play put on just for you, nothing serious. The police officer who is looking at your passport is bored, distracted. The arrival of your baggage is another joke: the first item has arrived at 10.55, there is written in the display, but it is now 11.03 and the belt is still not moving… okay. At the information desk, the kind lady in charge spends five minutes explaining to me how far Malpensa Airport is from Linate (“e’ loooontanissimo, e il bus deve fare mooolte fermate (only one, actually, at Gobba Station)”, and forgets to tell me that I have to buy the ticket at the Change desk (why right there? It is a mystery). The bus driver wears Ray-Ban glasses like an actor in an old movie and chats with three passengers about Milan and Inter, the city’s two soccer teams. I wake up and pay great attention because this is an incredible cliché, and suddenly a bad feeling of déjà vu hits me. They are really talking about Milan and Inter, believe me, and each of them is a scholar and, off course, knows how to solve the situation.
Where am I? The situation is not the economic situation of Italy, the forthcoming elections, Europe and Brexit, the flow of immigrants… not at all. The picture concerns a great financial scam: Berlusconi and Moratti want to acquire Milan and Inter, respectively, by selling their team to Chinese investors. Believe it or not, this is financial engineering, the explanation of which engages the driver for forty kilometres at least. Near Arese, the discussion reaches such high levels of complexity that I cannot follow it and so I’m not able to tell you more about this deal, the greatest con in history, I guess. In any case, this is my final tip to you, if you are a gambler: in a year, maybe less, Milan and Inter will be again the two best teams in the world – use that as you want! And finally, loooontanissimo from Linate, here is the splendid Malpensa T2, which looked like crap and seemed even worse.
Is it real, or only the representation of the quintessence of a budget airport? Everywhere there are barriers and works in process (“We are working for you!”). There are low ceilings, low lamps, a grey atmosphere and rude people. However, you can learn a lot in terms of how things are organised: in front of the first bar, a pile of chaps were lined up, maybe in a queue forty metres long, since there was only one cashier, bored and slow, and, instead, four waiters, bored and totally still, staring into the distance as if they were looking at an atomic explosion near Busto Arsizio. At the second bar, there were two Italian cashiers, bored and arrogant, and only one waiter, a Romanian lady, who jumped from one order to the next frenetically, disappointing everybody.
Looking out of the window, you cannot see the usual fingers of the airports (fingers in T2?), just more queues of people, on the taxiway, waiting to board EasyJet planes. Only EasyJet planes exist in that infinite yard.
When suddenly an Air Berlin plane arrives from… Berlin? I guess… a crowd of spoiled Milanese kids applauds happily. “Guarda, papa’, un aereo blu!” This is, in fact, a note of a different colour, which the smart Italian boys immediately notice (EasyJet is orange, by the way, if you don’t remember).
I have a taco sandwich called Taco, a soft small fruit macedonia and a warm Coca-Cola (room temperature) for 9.90 euros and I sit at a dirty table with a dull man and two know-it-all sons, who are talking about the great conspiracy against the Chinese investors. I wake up again from my state of depression, this time with a bit of vertigo, and I try to understand how Berlusconi and Moratti will acquire their respective teams (which, by the way, already belong to them) by selling, yes, by selling them to some Chinese investors.
What a pity: my financial ignorance prevents me from picking up the vital details of this great con, which, by the way, the Chinese investors deserve. The father is radiant, very proud: “They deserve it, damn Chinese people, they are trying to appropriate this value for themselves!” and stretches out his arm encompassing the whole beauty of Malpensa T2.
I look around at this shit airport and I ask myself again: “Where the fuck am I?”