24 September 2006

Chapter 3 - The Journey Still Continues

Friday 22nd September.

Having given the matter much consideration, I decide that even if I sell my flat, the cost of actually living on this plane would be prohibitively expensive. If the stewardess was to warm to me a little, I might reconsider, but I suspect our love affair is doomed as she appears to hold me with the same regard as a fresh dog turd on her living room carpet.

I console myself by drinking a vodka and watching Mission Impossible 3 on the TV. I've been waiting four hours to watch it as I didn't want to be interrupted by offers of food and beverages.

The strange thing about air travel is the way that they take care of the passengers. You're seated, shown a safety video, served drinks, given a meal, and then the cabin crew disappear never to be seen again, leaving you to fend for yourself for the rest of the flight. After two hours, some of the passengers had formed into packs and were foraging for food like feral cats. At one point, a gang war broke out near the rear of the plane when two rival factions each laid claim to an abandoned packet of cheese cocktail biscuits that had been discovered on the floor.

But I digress.

We're told to fasten our safety belts and stow our TV screens as the plane is about to land in Doha, thus ensuring that I miss the last 15 minutes of Mission Impossible 3.

Unfortunately, our flight is late so we have to run to make our transfer. This means that we don't have time for a much needed cigarette. We scurry dolefully past the smoking room, cursing under our breath.

The flight from Doha to Bangkok is essentially the same as the previous one in content, with the exception of the wonderful leg room. On this plane, my knees are jammed against the back of the seat in front, and I sit pondering on the likelihood of deep vein thrombosis occurring.

On the plus side, they give us each a small bag containing an eye mask, ear plugs, travel toothbrush and socks. The zip on mine breaks immediately and I'm forced to tear a hole in the material with my teeth in order to get to the goodies inside. Once liberated from their fabric prison, much of their mysterious magic dissipates and I'm left feeling unsatisfied and vaguely curious as to why I was so filled with anticipation mere moments earlier.

Give a man a mystery and he will be entralled. Once the mystery is gone, so is the desire. Thus, was it ever so...

Curiously, we're flying against the rotation of the Earth, so despite having only travelled for severn hours, it is now the middle of the night.

As we fly over India, I look out of the window and witness the most incredible thunderstorm occurring beneath us and far into the distance. I tap away at the control panel and the sound of Beethoven fills my ears as I watch the lightning.

The majesty of Beethoven's music coupled with the awe-inspiring beauty of watching the clouds light up from inside like huge, glowing piles of fluffy mashed potatoes, is absolutely stunning. For some time, I'm speechless at the sight before me.

Everyone else on the plane is asleep so, for a short while, this incredible show, this display of nature's raw, unbridled power, this utterly breathtaking spectacle is for me and me alone. I sit, alone in the universe save for my thoughts and the flashing sky around me, and I realise that the price of the flight had been worth it for this simple, wonderful, indescribable moment alone.

Then I watch 'Poseidon' on the flat screen TV and start to wonder if I can ask for some money back...

No comments: