This is what London looked like on New Years Day
The title should actually include ” & Rewards” but of course that doesn’t have the same nice alliterative ring to it!
Don’t get me wrong – I love to travel, or perhaps more correctly I love to be absorbed in another place, another land, another culture, even attempts at another language but I don’t really enjoy the getting there anymore. I don’t suppose in this day in age many people do – the romance is certainly long gone and for the most part the utilitarian “get from here to there” has also been tainted. Now air travel at least, is fraught with every irritation, uncomfortableness, alienation, rudeness and out and out miserableness that you can imagine. Its dehumanizing, depressing and sometimes downright dangerous but according to sources the number of travellers around the world has doubled in the last ten years!
So all this leaves me with a choice – I can get really cranky, adopting a me versus them approach or I can find the funniness and the absurdity in it all. Occasionally I veer heavily onto the “dark side” but mostly I’m pretty good with the latter. So in no particular order getting from London, Ontario to Tirumangalam, Tamil Nadu I had the following little vignettes. New Years Day travelling is not for the faint of heart at the best of times – the airport bus had a frozen cargo door which whined with a particularly high pitched buzz for the 3 ½ hours (normally 2 hours) it took us to get to the airport – also no heat through a massive snow squall and minus 20 c. Temperatures – I did feel sorry for the driver – sorta.
Clearing security for the flight to Madurai was entertaining – after three separate officials ransacked my camera bag, the last and most officious started berating me about having “too much stuff” and I should get a point and shoot camera and stop making work for them. “Why do you need three lenses and two cameras and all this stuff and how can you (read female) possibly carry it all around?” The second guy had the good grace to looked abashed at all this – everyone else furtively edged away from me in case it was contagious!
I am 5′ 6″ tall – possibly shrinking – average height but in the south of India I’m often a head taller than everyone else. I think the domestic airlines cram in seat capacity for the short folks. I literally sat diagonally to get my knees off the seat in front of me. The very tiny man beside me was perfectly comfortable and looked askance at my contortions.
I had two meals – a veg breakfast and non-veg lunch – no actual idea what was in the meals but they were tasty – Indian food lends itself very well to airline preparation and packaging I think. However the plastic cutlery was so small and flimsy that you couldn’t really use it – the fork had three tiny short tines so not picking up rice and not stabbing anything else. Of course the butter for the roll was rock hard – when is it ever not? But the knife couldn’t even shave off a minuscule curl of butter without bending – al dente noodle! I don’t know why Indian airlines feed you perfectly good Indian food but give you western style dry bread and cold butter instead of naan, paratha or some such.
Then there was the man in the seat in front of me who had obviously just had a hair cut; he had that thick bristly hair that forms a natural brush – and kept running his fingers through it – must have felt good I guess. My problem was that somebody had missed about 20 or 25 – 3 inch hairs right at the top of his head. No they didn’t look deliberate like a top knot or a “statement”. He never seemed to catch them but they did catch my ‘slight” OCD tendencies and I practically had to sit on my hands to stop from reaching up to pluck them out – really good thing I didn’t have scissors on me (see security does work sometimes). After a little while of battling this compulsion I ended up with a serious fit of the giggles. My very tiny seat mate appeared to be getting anxious that perhaps this overgrown woman was hysterical ….or dangerous!
But here is why sometimes the rewards out weight the tribulations – but I know my fellow Canadians are going to hate me!
The Guest House gardens on January 4th – nice reward indeed!