This week I was supposed to do a normal business trip. A bit longer than usual but nothing I haven’t done a few times: fly from Brussels to Hefei via Bangkok, couple of days auditing the location, then to Malaysia for a few meetings and on Friday evening again via Bangkok, direct to Brussels. From there to a well deserved weekend with the family in a park at the east of Belgium. So far so good.

 

First of all the trip wasn’t long, but LONG. Obviously I plan my intercontinental trips months ahead of time. Well, when the trip day arrives I start to wonder how on earth did I chose those connections. Thanks to that “perfect” planning and some delays due to rain in the South of China (where, btw, it ALWAYS rains), it took me 28 hours from check-in in Brussels till I collapsed in my bed in Hefei.
On the first working day I did the Tiremes audit with the local colleagues. By the time we were pretty much done, 3:30 PM or so, I got a news alert in my phone: “Several blasts had been heard in Brussels airport”.

My first though was: “What the f….?” Eventually images starting to pop up, in the Belgian websites, in the Spanish websites, even in the Chinese websites, and my worst fear got confirmed:
A few bastards had raped my second home killing and injuring people I have certainly met.
You have to understand that BRU (Brussels Airport) is literally my second home, after my “real” home, BRU is the second place in Belgium (if not in the world) where I have spent more time in the last 10 years.

airportObviously that was the end of the working day, because my mind couldn’t focus on anything else. I spent the next couple of hours at the office watching Belgian TV online (@Sam, sorry for the CIAS overload) trying to come up to terms with the magnitude of the tragedy. The images were unreal:

  • The counter of Thai Airways where I checked in 48 hours earlier was used as a protection wall by two scared passengers covered in dust.
  • The second bomb was placed exactly at the Gold Card counter of Brussels Airlines were I check in every week, so I’m certain there we lost one of the friendly staff members.
  • The area at the entrance of the terminal where staff goes out to smoke was covered by shattered glass.
  • The space in front of the Starbucks were students normally hang out with a coffee before going on a group vacation was covered in blood and pieces from the roof.
  • While the guys I see every week in the Lock Park were live on TV running like crazy to the Terminal to try to help somehow … somebody

I was shocked. Honestly I was so shocked that I forgot to save the file we had been working on the whole day, so I had to spend part of the sleepless night trying to do it AGAIN … because I didn’t want to give the no-food guy (see my previous blog) the opportunity to fix things before I did the as-is report.
My second thought, for once, was the right one: call Spain and inform my family down there that I’m fine (they know I’m “always” travelling but not necessarily when and where).

And the third one was that if and when this drama is over, things will never be the same again at home in BRU.