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Thoughts of a wandering soul The "IT WAS TIME" Trip!

Farewell London!

BRAZIL | Wednesday, 30 January 2013 | Views [316]

The next day, the plan is to leave at 3pm for Heathrow as my flight is at 6.40pm. I wake up and think I feel better. Of course, I could ACTUALLY be feeling better.

Come lunchtime, Davina serves me up some pasta (another massive serve) which is delicious, but of course I can't finish it all. I pack and do another couple of things, and long story short, end up leaving at 4pm. Still, I manage to arrive at Heathrow by 4.38pm so still on time for check in and all.

I think for a moment about keeping my oyster card and then figure - nah, I'll cash it in. I get back all the travel money that's on my card as well as the original 5 pound deposit for the card. I don't know WHY Melbourne couldn't have implemented a system like this. It's time for boarding and I see a vending machine serving Ben & Jerry's ice cream. I really want one, but the machine refuses to take my money.

Doh! There are salt & vinegar chips in the machine next to it though - I settle for those.

Once on the plane, a guy sits next to me & I can't tell if he's English or German 'cause I'm sure he spoke German to the stewardess. I open my bag of chips and offer him some. Thanks, he says and takes one. Ah, he's English. We start chatting & he tells me he used to work for Lays chips, which own the brand of chips I'm currently eating.

He's in research he tells me, and seems to have worked almost everywhere in Europe! We have a really good conversation. He tells me how he met his wife, and that they had several years of a long distance relationship before finally getting married. She was from Switzerland, but they met in his hometown while she was working there. Apparently her parents knew they'd lost her to England, and had given up hope of having a German speaking son-in-law, but it turned out this guy had learnt German while he was working in Switzerland! So happily ever after story. They've now got two kids. He shows me a picture - they both look adorable. As the plane lands in Zurich, it's been a really good, fun flight!

I remember the Zurich airport from the last two times I was there (two weeks ago) and so make my way quickly to the next gate as it's quite a tight connection for the flight to Sao Paolo.

I think this is where I make the biggest karmic error!

I'm second in line at the security check in. The guy in front of me has put his bag on, but when the lady asks if he has a laptop, he says yes and starts retrieving it.

Now, at every other airport I've been through (and there have been many so far on this trip) in this situation whoever is next ready simply steps up and places their stuff on the belt - else you'd be holding up the entire line!

So I place my bag ahead of his when the security lady says "Hey, wait just a minute" and puts my bag back.

Oh. Okay. I wait in line for the first guy to get his stuff organised and then proceed after him.

At my gate, passengers are already boarding. I board and discover there are two empty seats next to me! Can it be? On this twelve and a half hour flight? Please don't let there be anyone in those seats!

There's a little girl in the row in front of me. She looks like a mini version of Bjork. Sweet enough. And then I realise there's actually quite a lot of kids on this flight. Just as I'm getting ready to settle in for this long flight, there's a mad rush and a whole stack of people board - their flight had been delayed. And next to me it turns out is a young kid and his mother...and hence begins on of the worst flights of my life!

The kid had golden skin and dark blond hair which was long enough that it puffed up around his head - like a cloud. At first sight he looked like a cherub. He had his backpack on and was trying to walk past me. Clearly he hadn't learnt about dimensions yet.

I took off his backpack and put it on his seat. He also looked quite hot in his puffy jacket so I took that off and put it on his seat as well. Then he was able to squeeze past me and sit. His mother went on the other side of him. She seemed very flustered as she tried to find space for all her luggage. They had bought a tall toy - no idea what, but it was in a plastic bag with a smiling giraffe on it. They put it on the floor under all three seats. Awesome. Not. Hmm...turns out they were from Brazil and spoke no English or Spanish or any other language I spoke.

The lady asked me a question & I had no idea what she said. I asked again if she spoke Spanish & she said no. She said she spoke Italian. Hmm...I'd done one semester of Italian in year 7, and all I could remember was the first lesson about asking names and being late to class.

I asked the kid what his name was and he told me. Great. That was the end of all conversation.

He immediately wanted to play with his remote which he kept pulling out, elbowing me in the process. Everytime.

Gah! His screen wasn't working. In fact, no one's screen was working. It seemed to be permanently stuck on this Hindi movie of all things! The soundtrack (including dialogues) played on the music channel and the movie played on every other channel including the game channel! It was craziness!

I made the kid put his remote back, but alas, that only lasted as long as the plane was in ascent. As soon as the plane was coasting, he started pulling out the remote again & elbowing me. Sigh. This was going to be a LOOOOONG trip!

I tried to explain to him that the space on my side of the armrest was mine in sign language, but that didn't seem to help.

Finally the Hindi movie finished and I thought I could finally watch The Bourne Legacy, but no such luck - the Hindi movie started again!

What the? Gah!!! Oh well, I thought I may as well watch it since it from the beginning.

I absolutely hated it, but stuck with it hoping that it would redeem itself or at least finish at some point. Even the constant nudging by the cherub was a welcome distraction. Thank goodness after that I was able watch The Bourne Legacy.

Soon after, they served dinner, and then it was lights out for sleeping. For some reason I had no intention of sleeping and wrote in my journal instead. The cherub lay his head in his mother's lap & his legs on his seat. It was all fine he started kicking in his sleep. Hips, ribs, shoulders - no part of me was safe.

Surprisingly, I really felt nothing emotionally about it, and so when the mother apologised, it was really easy to just say, no worries, and continue writing. Until I started to get tired and tried to sleep a little. Then the kicks weren't quite as easily forgiveable.

Unfortunately, the mother in her infinite wisdom tried to grab the cherub's legs to curb the kicking, which of course meant the cherub kicked even harder, and when those kicks were aimed at my head, I had to intervene by grabbing his legs before they made contact. So many thoughts...so few actual possible actions.

Eventually the pilot said we were landing in Sao Paolo shortly.

Oh thank goodness! I would soon be away from this nightmare. However, just as we were about to land, little cherub didn't feel too good from the yoghurt he'd eaten for breakfast and decided to throw up. Three times.

His mother asked for the sick bag in my seat, and the last time he threw up, he missed the bag and got it all over his chest instead. Joy of joys.

Thankfully, either it didn't smell or I was so sleep deprived by then that I couldn't smell it.

And of course the landing started all the kids crying with the descent. Why parents don't at least give their kids something to chew or suck at this point I'm sure I don't know!

Anyways, I finally walked away from what was one of the worst flights of my entire LIFE! And that's including one where the plane suddenly dropped 7000 feet or something while I was out of my seat and I flew up and hit my head and hurt my neck on the ceiling!

Even the twelve swiss chocolates I'd managed to acquire weren't nearly enough to offset the trauma of that flight

Tags: great flight/nightmare flight

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