Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Cabin Fever

As much as I love travelling, the one thing I hate the most is the transporting process -- ie. the airplane ride. So there I was, recently boarded the Boeing 747 that will fly me from the indelible London Heathrow airport to my layover in the Bangkok airport. As I walked down the crowded aisle, I was praying hard that the empty space near the cranky nine-month old infant a couple of seats away and the chatty couple seated right next to it wasn't mine. Unfortunately, the label adorned up top unmistakably had the same 37C embossed on my boarding pass. Well, at least I got my aisle seat.

As I stowed my Crumpler messenger bag on the overhead, found solace on my iPod, fastened my seatbelt and comfortably sank on my chair after trying numerous positions, I felt a tap on my shoulder.

"Excuse me, miss," the guy-half of the chatty couple next to me said. "I was wondering if you can let me pass to go to the loo."

I instantly knew it was going to be the longest ten hours of my life.

Trying my best not to sigh loudly, I basically undid everything that allowed me to reach the most comfort to let this guy out. But of course, I cannot just quite settle back in because the guy would have to come back. Oh how I wished he could teleport instead. Predictably, the guy took forever. And just when he got back, his girl friend decided that she wanted to go as well. Great. Just eff-in great!

Because I resorted to getting the cheapo flight, I had to settle for having to travel at a horrible hour. I tend to favor red eye flights as it allows me to pass the time away by dozing off and minimizing wasted travel time. This time, however, I got stuck travelling in the dead of noon in exchange for skimping on five hundred dollars -- effectively meaning that I will be unable to sleep. And to add icing to the cake, I will lose about six hours due to the time difference, and will land on Asian soil at six in the morning the next day. Make way for Princess Zombie. I, for one, could never make it on artificial nights.

As the aircraft finally took off, I tried drowning out all the noise around me and opted for a "night cap" of whiskey and coke. I looked back on the past week and how lovely it had been. I was able to spend time with my most favorite people in the world in one of the best places on earth. My siblings have flown from various parts of the world to join me in a week-long soul searching expedition.

It wasn't my first time in London, but I've always looked forward to each visit. There's something about it that is both haunting and enchanting -- it's like something old and familiar that never wastes away in your memory. Oh how we laughed while stuffing ourselves silly with fatty and greasy food (arguably the best kind of food there is) as if time and distance never got between us. Driving down unfamiliar paths in the countryside brought new experiences and sights to our city-slick attitudes and urbane conventions. And walking up those elaborate pavements whilst taking pictures as if its about to go out of style -- highly embarrassing, yes, but eternally blissful. I was once again allowed to be the person I once was. Where had I been?

My thoughts were rudely interrupted by the grumpy middle-aged man on the seat in front of me as his backseat reclined without warning almost hitting me squarely on the nose. The chatty couple next to me decided to go on their thirtieth bathroom break in two hours -- after consuming several rounds of gin and tonic that only fuelled their insanity. The meal cart arrived adorned with bad food and excessively processed nibbles. Being thirty three thousand feed up in the air, did I really need more salt in my already dehydrated body?

I felt my body relax. This plane trip from hell was perhaps called for as the yin has to somehow start overtaking the yang of my journey. I was constantly on top of the wheel for the past week. I knew it wasn't going to last and that the wheel would have to start going down one way or another. The plane ride was the pivotal point of it all... I was on the way back to painful reality. But pay no mind as I pocketed enough positive energy from my trip to bring on.

My mission was definitely accomplished. Indeed, it was something that I needed and had unknowingly been longing for. My siblings and I have retreated to our respective corners of the globe and god knows when we'll be able to do it again. Until then, I can only go back on my memories with a soft smile playing on my lips.

"Excuse me," the girl-half of the couple next to me said as she slurred through her words, her breath stinking of cheap gin. Her eyes were half-closed. "I need to go to the loo. I think I'm going to be sick."

It left me wondering if the five hundred dollars that I saved was worth it.

35 Comments:

Anonymous Januarybitch said...

Heh heh...i always thought the aisle seat was the best deal. But it is irritating when you are disturbed by virtue of seating. A red eye is always the best flight you can take: just take the window seat next time, curl up as much as possible and fall asleep.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Aditi said...

I hate being stuck in an aircraft for long difficult hours...
i always try and get the window seat because that way i dont have to budge so much..
but i completely sympathise

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Electric bearbearina said...

Isn't it unfortunate how, sometimes, the most wonderful trip closes with the most horrific airport/airplane experience? Glad you got home safe and (relatively) unscathed :)

2:20 PM  
Blogger utopia said...

hehehehe! glad you are back. well its a small price to pay for the glorious time you had :).

2:57 PM  
Blogger Ab said...

i guess even i need a proper break... break from reality of work and studies..
like, as much as i say work is fun, these days its too boring.. and im really feeling all drained in terms of motivation..
and Iv given up on studies too as a waste of time.. prob is Iv got a home trip scheduled for th end of th month.. so i ges i got to put up with myself till then

4:06 PM  
Blogger jellyhead said...

Oh, no...you've made me dread the next flight I take something terrible!

Good to hear your London sojourn was all you hoped for.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Lucid Darkness said...

Glad to have you back. Even though your plane ride was far from pleasant. :]

8:17 PM  
Blogger nasia said...

i understand.. every plane trip of mine.. makes me think of writing a blog.. but u enjoyed in london.. and thats the best part..

9:13 PM  
Blogger Paige Jennifer said...

Yeah, that blows. Why didn't you tell the drunken hussy to swap her window seat for your aisle??? That way, when she felt the urge to wretch at 35,000 feet, she was thatmuchcloser to the box.

PS: I've been on 26 planes since Memorial Day Weekend and none of my experiences top yours. Um, you win!

9:28 PM  
Anonymous lemonade said...

well..on the bright side..u really did have an awesome time in london..a trip wouldn't be a trip if if you didn't have one of these stories to tell :)

9:34 PM  
Blogger Zee said...

oh good god....i truly pity u! i'm puke phobic...cannot see people puke else i end up crying! so flights are even more traumatic with me saying a 10 min prayer before we take off that the person in the next seat would not be airsick!

12:46 AM  
Blogger Kati said...

LOL Oooh, Princess B. I'm glad you had the memories of your trip to London to sustain you through the flight. That couple sounds like a complete nightmare!!!! Hope you've caught back up in sleep!

2:08 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Ooph... what a trip. I agree with preferring the red-eye trip; although kudos to you for not smacking Mr. and Mrs. Drinky-McDrunk.

3:08 AM  
Blogger Astraeus said...

can i share a secret:

i am scared of airplane journeys.. the only two times i did have to travel in it i had mah eyes shut and fists clenched

:)

4:05 AM  
Blogger meggie said...

Great times you had in London will hopefully replace the awful plane trip. It can be quite stressful, after a lovely holiday.

4:26 AM  
Blogger Jennifer McK said...

Ugh! What a way to be welcomed back to reality.
It did give you fodder for your blog. LOL.

9:12 AM  
Blogger butterflygirl said...

so sorry...

9:48 AM  
Blogger nel said...

wow ... so many posts on your first day back! ... and yes, the hours are killing when travelling far. I would have brought my laptop with me and get on the internet whenever I can ... lol ... i am very sure you did have a good break eventhough you seems to be quite picky on the plane trip. So, dragging yourself to work the next day? ... heh, heh ... i just have to rub it in, don't i? ... ;D

10:10 AM  
Blogger William said...

I always take the aisle seat. But then, I've not been cooped up for more than 3 hours. At least nobody talked your ears off.

11:48 AM  
Blogger fifi said...

Mmmm.
know how you feel. try 32 hours of cattle class London to Sydney, with all stops in between and an unscheduled break in Abu Dhabi right when you took of your contact lenses and taken a sleeping pill.
Lovely.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Irreversibly Screwed said...

call me weird but i never dislike journeys... maybe because being the lazy bum i am, i can sleep anytime, anywhere, in as much noise as possible... though i agree its irritating that people think of going to the loo the moment the flight takes off.. what exactly were they doing on the airport before boarding the flight!!!.. another thing i hate in flights is when people scream at the airhostess as if its their right!!.. get a life.. learn to talk to people before u get out of ur house!!!..
interesting rant though..

11:12 PM  
Blogger UBERMOUTH said...

The biggets problem I have with air travel is the boredom of sitting there for so long,with nothing to do, unable to smoke or move about. I hate flying.And haven't you noticed that every third person looks and behaves all shifty like a terrorist?

12:08 AM  
Blogger Rashi said...

wow...but look at it like this, so much for so less...:)

keep rocking !

2:47 AM  
Blogger mathew said...

well worth the trauma of getting back home!! ;-P

I practically can turn almost close to dead asleep in any kind off journey..and most of the time I go for the window seat to avoid such troubles..

3:58 AM  
Blogger yinyang said...

And, once again I am reminded about how lucky I was with the four planes rides I’ve been on. I prefer the window seat, though, because you can stare out into space without weirding anyone out.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Libby said...

a window seat would have made this the most perfect trip, wouldn't it?? lol!

11:01 PM  
Blogger Molly said...

Oh for the good old days when airline travel was new and exciting. I always try for a window seat because no matter how often I fly I never tire of the view from up high....Can't understand why peanuts are the snack they give out---as if, as you said, you needed anything to wring more moisture from your body!

3:32 AM  
Blogger thisisme said...

Welcome back! I'm glad you had a wonderful time on your holiday and reconnected with your siblings.

I'm with you though - plane travel sucks - I always go for a window so I don't have to keep getting up and down.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I think it was worth it... perhaps it didn't feel like it right away, but if you figure $500 divided by 10 hours... that's not bad.

I'm glad you got the trip and the visit... isn't it great to get to do that? So wonderful. Made me smile just thinking about it.

Good. Very good.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

12:05 PM  
Blogger James said...

Hi Princess glad you are back.
But sad that the inevitable build up of stresses has begun so soon. Stay loose and don't let them grind you down....

4:08 PM  
Blogger The Black King said...

Hahahahah... make sure you get the window seat next time! Or maybe you could have asked the couple to switch seats! :D

2:04 AM  
Blogger Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Yeah... it is funny how you need to actually 'buy' your peace and comfort and that there is actually a price tag to it! Hope you've recovered at home now.

6:28 AM  
Blogger CM-Chap said...

Ha Ha.. It happens.. Get over it...

11:11 AM  
Blogger Vik said...

Oh I am mighty pleased that you had a good time off and back with a nice story as well. Yea you chose the right time to tell me how much I "like" traveling by flights !

I think I prefer the Aisle seats more than anything and more often than not I just don't get to sleep tight in the travel coz people keep moving in and out for the blessed "rest room" and the "free" drink is so frickin abused is all i can say.

Now that you are back, you will remember the good times as much as the bad sojourn ! :=)

Welcome back princess !

2:47 AM  
Blogger Sigma said...

Ha ha ha! But think - it would be better to be in an aisle seat, rather that sitting in middle, and asking the person in aisle seat to let you pass thirty times ;-)

12:40 AM  

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