Monday, August 11th, 2014
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To Budapest via Frankfurt, August 10, 2014

★★★ The moon gleamed on the wing and made the ocean pale. The disc itself was just out of view; craning the neck would produce a tiny ghost moon, floating refracted in the edge of the window through the edge of the glasses. The German cabin attendants politely declared it time that the shades go down, against the coming of the sun, even though the dinner service was still underway. Sometime later, a glow seeped into the cabin, rosier than the mood lighting. The descent into Frankfurt was between clusters of white puffs below and sheets of gray above. The airport was humid, the thermostat tuned higher than the United States standard. Out on the tarmac, on the way to the next plane, the temperature was the same. The cloud cover seemed to be enough to compensate for the sunscreen lost to hot facecloths. The Budapest plane touched down to a view of red-tinged clouds and mirror-wet runways. A pink-liveried jet stood over its pink reflection. By the time the taxis pulled away, the sun was out, the sky split between white clouds and gray ones. It was too hot for the airplane clothes. Leaves flashed silvery undersides by the roadway. Ahead in the distance was high land, a shade of blue that implied it would be green up close. A puli galloped by, a shapeless coffee-colored mass. In a bar off a narrow lane, a misting fan swept back and forth, till the sun had passed over the land and the mist grew chilly. Out in the open, the sunlight fell sideways in the faces of the soccer fans who had been waiting all day outside the hotel. The sun sank out of view and they kept waiting, hour on hour, till at last their heroes filed out of the lobby, into clamor and frenzy. Twilight came on and the entrance was still and calm.