Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On My Way

I sit here crammed inbetween the window in the wall and a sick kid on the trip. He leans his head against the fold-down table connected to the chair in front of him. He sleeps. The seats are small and I wonder how most Americans could fit in a chair like this. The girl in front of me leans her chair back to try to catch up with lost sleep. I begin to feel clastrophobic and my heart begins to race. Everything in me is telling me get out! But I am enclosed by all 4 sides. My knees press against the seat in front of me as I hold my pillow - an extra carry-on - in my lap. My feet squeeze into the hole on the ground created by back packs under and around the seat. We begin yet another journey - an hour from our destination - well, the country of our destination. I bend to bring my head down to the window and stare out as we lift off the ground. I see a huge city with sky scrapers, big buildings and pools in the backyards of brightly painted houses. Everyone has a pool. And I don't blame them, it's hot and it's only morning. Not far from the city and the neighborhoods, but distinctly seperate lies the houses of scraps; like you see in the movies with flat tin roofs and sticks, mud, fabric, garbage and cardboard to frame the walls. It's colorful, but not in the same way as the houses with pools. It makes me sad, and as I contintue staring more and more of these "houses" or "shacks" appear. Distinctly seperate. Their own community. Rough. I wonder what life is like down there.

I get my food. It's vegetarian - because I was too scared to sign up for normal (note to self, never do this again!) - it comes out first. First, I extract the hard bread roll from its plastic wrapper. I bring it to my mouth. It's like a rock. Yum. I give up and go for the main dish. I unpeal the tinfoil. Wonder what it is today. Cooked tomatoes, squash - well, at least I think it's squash - and lots and lots of mushrooms. This looks great, I love vegetables, and back home I would throw these on the girll and eat up. But the vegetables on my plate smell funny so I try them. They're drenched in oil and they taste the same as all the other meals I've ate in the last 48 hours... or haven't ate. Strange. They all have the same funny airplane taste. I just can't get past it. Oh well. So I put my fork down and go for the crackers. These I can count on. At least I know what to expect.

I'm done with my meal before anyone else in my row has even gotten theirs. It didn't take long considering I didn't eat much. They won't take my tray until they serve everyone on the plane, so once again I begin to feel more claustrophobic considering the tray sitting on the fold-down table, against my pillow on my lap takes up more of my personal space. So I wait. Everyone gets food. Everyone finishes. My tray is taken with the rest. I grab Emily's book, determined to make my first dent in it, but I can't focus. I want to write but I can't find a pen. So, I suck it up and sit. And wait.

We descend through the puffy clouds and make our way towards ground. The bushes and trees are plenty and I get excited when I see the traditional African tree (little did I know there would be millions of them everywhere we went).

We escape the plane on stairs that lead out to the asphalt - like in the movies. The airport is small. There's only one small plane across on the other side of the building. Palm trees line the entrance.

We get our baggage and wait ouside. We hear thunder and see lightning in the distance. I send up a quick prayer for rain. It does - short and sweet. We load up into the vans and we're off.

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