Friday, 27 November 2015

28th November - flying companions

Saturday 28th November 2015

This week Pete and I are going to fly to the Gold Coast for a few days.  Well I suppose it is a month or so since we last stepped on and off a plane…We could stay here and frolic on beautiful Cremorne beach

but a few Queensland days will be great, I am sure.   Not so sure about being on as plane again…Flying is OK, and there is something to be said for travelling so very speedily across the miles.  One of the things I find daunting is…the people.

Mind you earlier this year Pete and I were separated on the plane.  He sat next to a delightful Muslim doctor from London, originally from Iran.   They spent a very happy few hours solving the problems of the world and parted company with both having a greater understanding of religion, politics, life. 

We met up with him later on the beach at Boracay
I, on the other hand, sat next to another very nice man who didn’t speak English but…wanted to learn.  No I don’t enjoy giving English lessons on a plane; it is tedious and annoying and brings out the very worst in me.   I gave him a very generous ten minutes of my time then mimed that really I couldn’t hear at all (Poor Old DeafLady) and encouraged him to drop off into a long deep slumber.

My sister-in-law Twyla is a much kinder and more generous person than I am.  A few years ago she was flying from one coast of the USA to the other – a long long flight.  She had the window seat and in the middle seat was an enormous African man.  He struggled to fit in between the armrests and squeezed himself into his extension belt, sighing pitifully.  After the seat belt lights went off, Twyla said, “I hope you don’t mind me noticing but you don’t seem very comfortable.  Would you like me to lift the armrest?”  He was – oh how amazing – very grateful for the offer and they lifted the barrier.  WHOOSHHHH!!  Twyla found herself squashed up against the window, barely able to breathe, as her new friend expanded like an airbag.  She got to know him very well indeed as they flew the long long miles from one coast to the other… 

Twyla with Geoff, the new love of her life
Our honeymooning Italian friends, Alessandro and Anna, are extremely polite, gentle sophisticated people.   I can’t imagine them ever inspiring murderous rage in a fellow traveller but…they did just that, on a long long flight from one side of the USA to the other a year or so ago.   They had been flying from South America and were very tired; it was a night flight and they intended to fall asleep as quickly as possible to catch up before getting on yet another marathon flight back to Italy the next day.  They seat companion had other ideas.  He wanted to CHAT.  He was from Saudi Arabia and had many belligerent opinions about Western Christian capitalist people.  They listened politely enough and then indicted that they needed to go to Sleepyboboland.  NOT good enough!  He got very angry and abusive and shouted at them aggressively.  Nobody came near to rescue them and they were bored, annoyed and really quite frightened.  Worst flying neighbour ever!!   

My last solo flight back into Hobart was nowhere near as fraught with fear.   But I was very bored and annoyed!  I had been travelling for 24 hours to get from Raja Ampat to Hobart and for my  last hour (Melb-Hobart) I really wanted to go to…Sleepyboboland!  It was calling to me with a siren song.  But no.  I had a very loquacious older person next to me.  (Older, that I, than me.)  She was FULL of chat.  For instance, she felt the need to tell me about a frock she had crocheted for a work do many many moons ago, and how her mother had found it difficult to find a ribbon to thread around the waistband in exactly the right shade of apricot.  And how she had found a very nice travel bag JUST like mine in Chickenfeed, for $5.  (I took silent umbrage; her travel bag was NOT exactly the same as mine which is a Hedgren and MUCH more stylish.  And MUCH more expensive…)   This woman was so very dull and she did not let up for an instant.  As well as this I disagreed with every single one of her opinions but just bit my tongue – what was the point?? 

Usually my tactic is to look ahead fixedly without making any eye contact AT ALL with my neighbour on a plane, until we are landing.  Then there is time for a nice ten minute chat – perfect!!



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