Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Travel broadens the mind. but anticipation drives the bus. Maybe. Some parts of travel are wonderful, vistas and obscure or unique examples of ancient architecture, foreign foliage, magnificent beaches and awe inspiring waterfalls are all a turn-on for me. I love the costumes or local dress of different cultures and sometimes the variety of food choices. Peoples attitudes and understandings, family dynamics  and governance are occasionally challenging to my preconceptions. They are part of why travel is so satisfying. Being in the moment, experiencing  difference and diversity. I thrive on variety and novelty.
Perhaps my age is showing, but the actual moving around is harder. I am continually asked to squeeze myself into taxis, sharing the seat in front or back till I’m jammed tight against the shifter or the doorhandles. Worse though is contemplating getting on a bus that might break down before we get there. Sometimes I have a non refundable ticket for a flight out of the country.
The busses are  often so crammed with passengers that the aisles are full of standees. The roof loaded so high it looks top heavy. Drivers who seem to believe fate is on their side hurtling around corners  and  passing on hill approaches. Passing upside down buses in the ditch or burned out hulks at the side of the road re-enforce my apprehension.
 I sat in the back a few times when we were unable to secure seats up front. Every bump magnified, throwing me skyward into the ceiling. My legs are usually jammed up against the seat in front, or splayed so wide anyone sitting beside me is sitting on my lap.
I hold my biggest fear for flight though. Consciously, willingly I enter a narrow a cigar of aluminum to surrender to a person I don’t know or usually see, much less meet, who proceeds to accelerate down a track lifting us into the sky at speeds beyond my comprehension. The takeoff is mostly smooth as we leave the earth pointed skyward.  I hold my breath, close my eyes and pray to whatever force available to make it successful.
My fear diminishes once airborne, the inflight goings-on a great distraction till it’s time to land. If the person in front of me is resting with seat tilted back, they are resting on my knees. Getting in and out is a balancing act wedging myself back in. I’m unable to make out dialogue through the supplied earbuds so I usually read: whatever is at hand or my own supplies, till I’m bored out of my skull. Sleeping is almost impossible. I drift off, jerking awake continually, legs cramping, back aching and neck in a permanent spasm.
 When the meals arrive they are welcome diversion no matter how they taste. Then getting to the toilet,  an opportunity to block the aisle as the stewards pick up remains. Standing a welcome relief; walking as much as is possible in the limited space. So many of my fellow passengers are comatose; watching the movies, listening to music or asleep.
Landing is deadly. That scorch- sound as the tires touch the pavement, the jolt and shudder as the plane settles onto terra firma is both welcome and terrifying.
 Security and customs, long lineups, usually unfriendly officials and the baggage lottery is anti-climatic in the extreme. Into the next conveyance, then arrival at my destination for recovery from the time zone difference  and respite till the next excursion.
It's all worth it though, meeting wonderful people and enjoying the gifts of this amazing world I have seen so little of... so far.

1 comment:

  1. Funny, your experience differs largely from mine :) May be because I am shorter. But I enjoy most landing. I actually feel as if I was part of the airplane touching the ground. Hearing the wheels being out folded, expecting the moment of touchdown wondering if we are going to shake, how long to stabilize the machine - and always impressed by the fact that the tires can hold to the pressure of touchdown with such a heavy load and velocity. Once the pilot was so extremely good that it could not be felt at all when we touched ground. And the force of the breaks and the sound of the engines!
    Well, great to hear you are landed safely !!! Love & hugs Doris/GP/DE