Travelling tribulations

By Sue Trollip

I have been stuck too close to strangers for almost thirty hours and now the woman behind me is eating trail mix – crunch, crunch, crunch – it’s taking all my willpower to refrain from leaping up and hurting her.

On the first flight I sat next to a scholar who was on his way to Beijing to play soccer. Although a pleasant lad, he had no idea about personal space, granted it’s difficult to contemplate personal space on a plane but dude you have to keep your elbows to yourself. Thank goodness for the inflight movies. Then I spent three hours at an airport which was not as much fun as I’d been led to believe. Shopping heaven, they said to me, but I thought it looked like the usual too expensive goods that are found in every airport. I walked until I could feel my toes again, then found the Calvin Klein counter in the duty free shop and doused myself with a ‘tester’ for my favourite perfume.

When I boarded the next flight, I got an aisle seat with an empty seat beside me. The dreadlocked woman, sitting on the other side, and I were suitably excited at the extra room as this flight was sixteen hours long.

My nose always wrinkles and not in a good way, when I wake up and smell the airplane eggs someone thinks is a good idea to serve for breakfast. Soon after I’d gulped the orange juice and several refills of coffee (Why are those cups so small?) I stood near the toilets to flex my muscles and look out the window at the snow covered world below. I had a conversation about the snow with an Osama lookalike. Later I watched him clear immigration and he was there for a quite a while. At customs I noticed his luggage being searched and I thought if I were him, I’d have worn jeans and a t-shirt, but I guess that our differences make life more interesting.

On the first flight we were sprayed like roaches and on the second flight we were warned not to collect in groups near the toilet. I wondered how many take-over plots were convened in five minutes around the loos, but kept my thoughts to myself.

Climbing off my almost last flight, I stumbled on numbed feet to the next check-in counter only to discover that my flight had been booked for the following day. Oh jumping jellybeans! Although I got onto a standby flight I had six hours to stagger around that airport. That’s when I realised that familiarity, albeit vague, is a wonderful thing. Ooh Starbucks and Peet’s coffee and most wonderfully the many chairs with plug points, now that’s what I call customer service.
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I sat with my computer, coffee and chocolate and wondered how we survived airports before technology. Everyone around me has a cell phone, tablet or e-reader and no one is talking to anyone else, which is fine by me because I’m feeling grumpy!

Finally, exhausted and over caffeinated I boarded my last flight where I promptly fell asleep and woke up as we landed.

The entire journey was hell.

My hair is lanky, I can feel the blood pumping into my feet and my head is woolly. I’m dreaming of a bubble bath and am glad that where this journey ends excitement begins. This trip is all about the destination.

As soon as my adrenaline settled I slept for ten hours and woke relieved to find the me that I’m familiar with.

Anyone for trail mix?

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