Notes from the Air.

Note: Posts might be a little disorganized because I can only use my USB drive at certain internet cafes. I’ll do my best to date them–sorry if it’s confusing!

7/13
I’ve been on this plane for a little over 7 hours now, and I’m fidgeting. I have a hard time keeping still for an hour of church, which is at least a lot of sit-stand-kneel-stand-sit. This, on the other hand, is 13 hours of sit-sit-sit in the dark-dark-dark. I haven’t had any trouble sleeping on planes in the past, but I just can’t seem to fall asleep on this flight. Maybe all the bathroom traffic by my seat is keeping me up. Since I am not having much luck sleeping, I figured I’d jot down some quick observations about the flight, etc. before I forget.

1. The food is pretty good. I haven’t had an appetite for the past 3 days, so I haven’t been eating much anyway, but I’ve been grazing a little bit on the flight. The flight attendants came around with fruit, finger sandwiches, tea, and coffee. I didn’t realize that “chai” is Hindi or Bengali or whatever for “tea”. A “chai tea” latte is actually quite redundant—not that most Americans know, care, or care to know. I really hope I can find good coffee in Kolkata. I’ve developed a morning coffee habit this summer—if I don’t have 2 cups of coffee and a Diet Coke by lunch, I can expect a splitting headache around 1 pm. I guess India is the sensible place to go for tea leaves and all that, so maybe I’ll become an obnoxious tea drinker while I’m here. I’m already blogging—why not add tea and yoga at this point?

2. Bollywood movies are just like soap operas. Maggie and I really got in to “The Bold and the Beautiful” this summer. It’s the only 30 minute soap on CBS, and it’s simulcast in Spanish. Every weekday at 1:30, we would sit down to watch the latest drama unfold at Forrester Creations. It took us nearly the entire time we were home to figure out who all the characters are and how they relate to each other. Of course, missing the “Mad Men” season 4 premiere is my biggest TV regret, and I’ll be bummed to miss the rest of the “So You Think You Can Dance” season too, but I’m going to miss having my 18 minutes (not even 22 minutes—they throw in an extra commercial break) of TB&TB drama every day. My across-the-aisle neighbor has been alternating between playing on his Nintendo DS and watching movies. I just watched the beginning of his Bollywood film (subtitles make peeking easy to do), and I’m pretty sure that all Bollywood movies are 3-hour-long soaps. The hero/heroine is always an aristocrat who falls for an orphan/beggar/thief (Aladdin-style). The hero/heroine’s parents don’t want him/her to marry the orphan/beggar/thief, so bribes and arranged marriages are put in place. Somehow, after many long, romantic (?) songs with poorly-translated subtitles, the hero/heroine and his/her beloved find a way to be together in the face of their feuding families. It’s JUST like TB&TB, except Bollywood films have a little more domestic violence and TB&TB has a lot more sex.

3. Thanks to the personal entertainment systems with flight maps, I have figured out the route that we are taking to get to India. Before the trip, I couldn’t decide if we were going to fly East (over the Atlantic, over Europe, over the Middle East), West (over the US, over the Pacific, over Southeast Asia), or North (over up top and down on the other side). Whichever way you take, India’s pretty much on the opposite side of the world from the US. We are currently flying a route from New York that is mostly East but also a little North. The map shows that the route takes us past Boston (where I have never been but long to visit), over Canada, over Iceland (Reykjavik), over the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland), over Russia near Moscow, and then over a bunch of Middle Eastern countries that I don’t know the names/specific locations of, then to Delhi.

4. While I’ve been watching the little on-screen airplane creep sloooowly across the globe, I noticed something odd. The map notes cities—some of them major, some not so much—but more interestingly, it notes the locations of sunken ships. Off the coast of Canada, there’s a little dot that says “Titanic, 1912”. There are quite a few dots in what might be the Black Sea, but might not be. There are a lot of color seas in Europe/Asia. Anyway, I thought it was funny that the in-flight map showed the locations of sunken ships but not the names of countries (or colored seas). The entertainment system has buttons for viewing the nose camera, the down camera, and the rear camera, but when I tried to view the video feeds, the system reported that the channels were not available. Darn 😦

5. No Diet Coke. Also darn. 😦

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