Or rather, I've never been on a plane trip where the pilot receives applause upon a safe touch down.
11/11/2010 - 11/11/2010 8 °C
Yes, I was on one of those flights where I wondered why I took a photo of the plane before takeoff. Would my iPhone be recovered and studied from the burning wreckage of a busted up Boeing?
Turns out: no, and it was all fine, but I had the strange experience of an applauding plane upon touchdown.
And here I am in Ireland. And it is grand. But back to my tale of arrival.
For anyone that has been on a Ryanair flight, you'll understand the cramped conditions and the grumpiness of passengers as they hurtle through the air, overhead lockers stuffed with overnight bags pushed to the limits with a week's worth of clothing pretending to be under 10kilos crammed with under 10 x 100ml bottles of non-contraband fluids. Also, the budget airline doesn't have the safety card in the seat pocket, as there is no such luxury, nor a tray table to secure firmly in the upright position for take off and landing. But the safety instructional diagrammtic lesson *is* attached to the seat in front of you so you can study/obsess over it for the entire duration of the trip. So it was this that I first clamped eyes upon as I woke up from my slumber of cope. I use this terminology as the way to deal with no leg room, touching thighs and elbows with complete strangers and breathing insufferable air is to catch a few zzzzzz's. Rest your weary head in your hoodie and sit back and (try) to relax. You'll be there in an hour. (Everywhere takes an hour in Europe and the UK, it's quite uncanny! Perhaps time difference plays a part in some instances, but mostly it's an hour or so.)
So, as I woke up upon descent and could see the ground of Ireland below me, I thought it was odd to feel us throttle up and the nose of the plane to once again point toward the sky. Had the pilot been listening to the radio and wanted to hear the end of the song, or had he seen a parking spot closer to the gate and decided to go around again?!
Either way, up we went again, and headed out over the water. Was this a good idea? Of course, this was accompanied by over movement of the plane, dipping and bumping, pitching and heaving it's way through the sky with enough force to make me feel that I was lucky enough not to lose my lunch - it was still in my bag, placed securely under the seat in front of me. Phew. I'm gonna need a snack on the Lost island. Passengers around me were beginning to laugh nervously and open up to complete strangers to take their minds off us soaring out over the water, buffetted by strong winds. I kept my eyes on the steward seated facing us. He looked calm, so I was calm. Then the pilot crackled over the intercom. He alerted us to the fact that it was windy so we were going to make an approach from another angle. I guess he just wanted to be sure to be sure. (Sorry.)
So as we continued flying, dipping, weaving through wind as I looked down to the cool waves of the bay below me, I was eyes forward facing the safety instructions. The brace positon has changed, I wonder why? What does it mean no earrings? Do they want us to remove them? Surely that requires non shakey, not on fire hands? What if someone else inflates their bouyancy jacket before exit, do I have permission to puncture their lifejacket in order to save my own life?!
The older woman in my eyesight that was staving off ahem early onset dementia by suffering through crosswords and puzzles crossed herself after slient mumblings. If the great lord above spares her, surely he/ she/it would have to save me, too. Right?! Did this silent crossing cover me, too. Am I the recipient of a bounce about blessing? Either way, still we circled, still we careened.
It wasn't too scary, but unpleasant enough to cause me laugh about it and share this experience with you. Don't the worst experiences make the best stories?!
Sufficie to say, I made it, and so did everyone else. We bumped down, engines roaring and as we slowed and didn't burst into magnificent flames, the cabin mexican waved a series of applause through from front to back. Happy passengers, it's nice to hear/see.
I resisted the urge to kiss the tarmac, strangers went back to being just that - save for the 15 minutes that they were spilling their life stories, overflowing with fear and love and faith or lack thereof, and we all lined up to collect our bags. Another sucessful Ryanair trip. (Why *did* I take a photo of the plane?!)
So, here I am in Ireland, about an hour out of Dublin in Navan. Safe and sound. Drinking a Guinness (for health reasons and comparison research, mind), staying with the first friends I made travelling in Thailand, and their new pet rabbit,
A nice way to bookend my trip.
Ain't life grand?!