Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Freewheelin' in India - Day 1: Lucy in the Sky with Delays

I was driven to the airport by Johnny Tricks after he dragged me, sleepless and stressed from my mess of a room at 5.30am. I finally had the chance to chill and smoke a jazz cigarette on the short journey after skipping the night’s sleep to sort my shit.

I jumped from the van, hugged him goodbye and walked into the airport, before remembering in a panic that I had a tab of acid in my pocket (which I thought would be an interesting test of my penmanship, and nerve, on a 13 hour journey), and doing a 180. I sat at a bus stop sucking Lucy’s love-note, then checked in, and boarded an hour later, after being made to stand up, sit back down, and stand up again. I’ve always loved musical chairs, but it wasn’t as good without the music.

I was humoured by the thought of my actions as I sat waiting to fly, and then the pilot announced that we’d be delayed by an hour as there was a fault and we needed to get a different plane. Everyone sighed, annoyed at our situation, I sat there laughing to myself and smiled at the limp-wristed air steward that seemed to be vibing me. I’ve always wanted to join the mile-high club, but not with a guy, whilst the plane is still grounded.
We were made to stand up, sit back down, and stand up once again, a running theme with KLM airlines, obviously trying to instil some kind of youthful exuberance into usually annoying situations. I asked the air steward if this delay would affect my on-going flight to India, and his answer of “Yes” finally broke my silly spaceface smile. SHIT. This is going to interrupt my scheduled ‘trip’.
Off one plane, and onto another, I sat trying not to laugh as the brightness of the yellow lifejacket lit up the same steward’s handsome Spanish face during the safety instructions. ‘If there is an emergency, I will be fucking useless’ I thought, probably trying to inflate the life jacket fully by the straw, just to test the capacity of my iron lungs (which is larger than any other human being, and most elephants, after years of holding it down).
Feeling the effects of my earlier intake, I turned to my little black book and wrote a poem, a few pages of prose detailing my outlook on my existence and some quotes which popped up in my high spot I call a head. Some forty-five minutes later I was in Amsterdam, being told that I could either stick with my bag, fly to Dubai  four hours later, wait a further three, then fly to Delhi, or I could fly bag-less on my original flight and make a claim when there. I was advised by a nice Sikh guy that I should stick with my bag, as it would probably get lost forever in Delhi, so I did that.
I was massively confused by the instructions of airport staff and also tempted to head into Amsterdam, so I befriended a guy named Hugh who was in the same situation, and suggested the excursion. We decided together to be sensible, and went off for a beer instead.
After a while I told him that I was on acid, that his face was unusually bright, and how I was fighting back the urge to crawl under our table and make dinosaur noises, which he found extremely amusing.

We blagged emergency exit seats on both of our Emirates flights, good news for my lanky limbs, and got on board to be informed that our baggage hadn’t made it (the whole reason I had taken on the extra ten hours travelling). By this time my brain was too tired to write and I was sad at my missed opportunity. I managed about ninety minutes sleep, spread over three power naps and arrived in Dubai still shattered.

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