Sunday, February 13

Just another flight

More that half the distance is over. 3500 covered. Another 2500 to go. In miles.
I never knew the flight path was to be so close to artic. Thought I would fly over India. It took off straight north from Narita. Till it hit the russian shore, then turned left. Then the curve - may be the straight line in spherical trigonometry - it crossed a couple of xxxxvsk's. At this time, the screen shows the plane icon crossing the Ural mountains. Don’t remember the names. Never liked geography in schools - never thought I would see places too. Ural almost starts from the Artic ocean and comes down with a little leftward bend. Must be ice tipped if that is what it means by the white shades on screen. On the right is the Western Siberian lowland. The plane is almost skitring the artic. If I had known, I would have asked for a window seat. Something which I started hating a long time back.

This is Alitalia from Narita to Milano. The real name of Milan. On my first ever trip to Europe.
Italy for me was Sonia. And the place of thugs - an info I learnt after the reports of handbag snatch story from Tara. Yup, the guys look almost that way. Is Sonia really from this place? She does not look so! I normally take the airline as the representative culture of the country. Alitalia is just west. Lufthansa is the only exception I have seen. I pressed what it looked like attendant call button for a glass of water. Hours later, someone came down to switch it off. Great job. I don’t expect better anyway!

I can see some non-vsk names now. St. Petersburg, Gorki etc. Moscow we crossed already. Via much north of it.
Coming back to Alitalia - its flying made easy. Really easy, for the crew. One hour after take off, comes Orange juice. Another hour and the lunch. The Muslim Meal was good. That leaves UA alone - Muslim meal, bad. Any other meal, bad. Juice came once again a few hours later, and then late into this 9:30, they don’t seem to be bothering about dinner. I got the first row seat - but for the cup of water for my medicines, I need to walk till the tail.

This is a long long flight. I never bothered to check how long it would take. Guess this will be like 11 hours. So long I have not taken this long a journey. The LH form Bangalore to Dallas gets a better mid-flight stop. Today, its almost nil. I get so close to Cannes, my destination - its just to cross the southern Alps taking an hour or less. Bad planning, Riyaz. My home time gets to 9:30. Thanks to some early flight nap, I don’t feel sleepy now. And I did not take any books to read. So the only thing I can do will be to empty out the Dell battery. It says another 4.5 hours. And I have a spare one - full charge.

Interesting - for the past one hour, we've been chasing the sun. The head of the plane still wants to play while the tail is getting to dinner. The picture has almost been static. Probably it will remain so till we land in Milano. The arrival time is past six in the evening. Tired chasing the sun for another 4.5 hours, we will concede defeat. God Willing. Why do they plot the plane so big on the map? Appears like there is such a fine line between day and night. Thinner than the length of a B777! In those younger days, there was some line to mark day and night. These days, donno when day ends and night starts.

A long time since I logged any travel. Pre-marriage love letters were the only docs that had any travellogues. They were all but burnt recently - when my then-fiancee realised that she has got me fully within her grip! So no more records. Some of them, the Japan-US flights and back. And the Seatac shuttles. And of a cute little Skywest from Seatac to Portland(?). Of the missing calender days and mid-day nights. Of the magnificent views of the mighty Mt.Rainier. The beautiful runways at SFO, the queues for the runway clearance. Today it’s the story of a long dusk. The missing view of the Artic ocean. Today, sitting in the middle row between two Japanese - one a guy who kills his time on movies and books and on my left, a mystery girl, who keeps on fast forwarding the video, listens to iPod and keep a handbound kind of, old-but-well-maintained book on the table tray, to wake up suddenly and jot a few lines in English. The book makes her a mystery girl - it’s a pure hardcopy version of a well run blog. Some pages have some clippings attached, some visiting cards and things like that. The only logging I can do is by looking at the big screen in front of me!

On the next leg of the journey, its crossing Alps. But will be to late to see anything down below. Mandai san warns me that the planes are propellor ones, get cancelled so often due to heavy mist and so on. On the way back, may be I should try train. I have been fancied a lot of the European train sceneries. Probably that would be good to log about.

Merci and Ciao!

Tuesday, February 1

Of Glories and Frailties

While we climb up the glories of technology, tsunamis humble us reminding our frailties.

We talk about great technologies that keep humans together, of great communication gadgets and systems and the hottest stocks these days crawl along the technology that can search out anything anywhere. There we get unbelievable news of someone reporting "Yeah, we got the message, unfortunately we dont have contact info of anyone in that part of the world" and someone faxing the most critical info to a wrong fax number - hmm...sorry... the ministry changed a year ago.

We had a space shuttle landing on a Saturn moon taking instructions from the earth just two days before this.

We do have UNs and Olympics that tries to lie on ourselves that we believe we are part of an earth community. Does anyone of us believe UN is a "man's" parliament. That the start and end ceremonies of the great Olympics truly embody a sense of one community? Who can we fool? Only someone outside the earth? Probably tsunamis and such natural calamities - which are from the other world. Only they could bring some kind of unity among us. A role for the UN. A role for the military rather than just pulling triggers of bloodshed.

Anyway I found that frailties need be focused on. Glories and Glorified honors or "honorified" glories need attention too. I have created a separate space for all tech talk here