Monday, August 25, 2008

Arriving in the Hot Place

It was a ten hour flight, in two legs, broken in the Middle East. When we touched down there, nearly everyone got off. I waited for the new people to get on, but only two or three of them did. When the plane took off again it had about fifteen passengers. On an Airbus A321.
About halfway through the second leg, I thought sod it, I'm having a drink. I wasn't going to, as the Hot Place is also dry. But there was a drawer full of wine, and nobody else to drink it, so I had one. The stewardess was happy to have something to do. 'All alcohol must be consumed on board', she said. 'Right you are,' I said. 'Can I have another?'.
We 'deplaned' in no time, obviously, down the steps into a hot moist night and onto a bus. Three fat men sprawled across the only seats, under a sign which said 'Seating reserved for women and children'. I decided not to make a point. It was a short and badly lit journey to the terminal, past big white UN planes that loomed suddenly out of the darkness.
I'm far from the world's worst flyer, but there's always something to worry about. Will they remember my vegetarian meal? (They did on the first leg, but not on the second, but they kindly picked the sausage off the pizza for me). Will my luggage arrive? (Yes, it did -- it was strangely comforting to see my bright pink case emerge, I'd imagined it being flung around an empty hold, scattering pants and instant noodles all over the place). Will there be anyone there to meet me?
Er, no. There wasn't. Now *that's* never happened before, and I didn't particularly want my first experience of it to be after midnight in a near deserted entrance way populated by a few rangy taxi drivers and a few mangy cats. And a man asleep on a bench.
Thanks to a roaming mobile and good paperwork, I could call the duty driver. His English wasn't up to much but I got the impression that he was 'coming'. Thanks to half a bottle of red wine, I didn't get scared. I just sat down away from the sleeping man, ignored the taxi drivers, got out my Moleskine and pencil and started writing this.


Blogger Tim said...

They broke both your legs in the Middle East?

It's not as if space was at a premium.

10:54 pm  
Blogger tomato said...

Ah, the 3am realisation that no one knows or seems to care that you are arriving....nice.

Glad to hear you dealt with it with your usual grace and good sense :-)

Please send my love to the Hot Place and those who toil thinking of you loads and looking forward to hearing more...(how long are you there?)


11:37 am  
Blogger Jo said...

Hey Tomato! I have been thinking of you loads too, and brewing thoughts on your latest...

It was ok in the end -- turned out the driver was dropping someone else off before picking me up, and he wanted to go via the office (very much not on the way). So he got the driver to take him... and the driver's thinking ahead skills did not run to realising that this would leave me sitting on my case outside an empty terminal building in the middle of the night.

I'm only here for two weeks or so, I'll give you a shout when I'm back... hope you're ok xxx

5:27 pm  
Anonymous cookie said...

Heading for hot places of my own tomorrow, thanks for the facebook message, yes we're on facebook but only in a passive role & couldn't work out how to reply! xxx

1:17 pm  
Blogger tomato said...

Ahh I'm good, and glad to hear from you!

Take good care, stay away from the big scary shiny mall if you can, and make sure someone takes you out to play pool and smoke shisha at least once :-)

2:54 pm  
Blogger tomato said...

oh yeah, and also I reread my latest and then thought, shit, as I unravel all my feelings about this it comes out messy and I do NOT wish to spray that onto anyone else - you especially...

...would love to know what you're brewing, whenever that is.

3:02 pm  

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