So, much as I love Yorkshire Airlines *Rebecca rolls her eyes in sarcasm* this time I’m back at T5. Much as I love the UK, on my day off, I’m leaving the country. And much as last week’s efforts from Delhi bore little excitement, today I am heading for Abu Dhabi!
I’ve never been to Abu Dhabi before, so this is another first for me. I understand they’re pretty strict (even if less so than the other Emirates) about what women can wear, and there’s more wealth per square modicum than in Bernie Ecclestone’s piggy bank.
So I’m now on my plane and, as the first flight for a while where I’ve actually had time to write as opposed to work to do, I’m blogging again!
I’m on a big bird; the kind with a bar upstairs, estates at the front and cheap seats at the back. I’m in row 47 and have a window seat – yay! Beside me are two chaps who are also travelling alone, and who will undoubtedly provide some entertainment over the next 6 hours…
That’s something to do with solar energy heating the earth’s crust, causing warm air to rise and have an argument with the cold air going the other way, isn’t it? I’m sure Jack Ryan explained it at the beginning of The Hunt for Red October but his flight probably wasn’t as turbulent as this! During take-off, we’re already shaking from side-to-side, and as we leave the ground and climb up through a storm cloud, I look out of the window to see a flash, hear a short sharp bang, and wonder if well make it to Reading, let along Dubai?! As we continue to climb, the bird continues to move left and right pretty frequently and as the cabin crew leave their seats to start preparing service, the captain comes over the tannoy to ask them to return to their seats, just until we’ve cleared the storm cloud *gulp*. A couple of minutes later, we’re welcomed from the flight deck by the captain, telling us that, in case we had noticed it, we’d been struck by lightning during take-off, but the plane is fine, nothing to worry about, and service can now commence as usual. STRUCK BY LIGHTENING?! Wouldn’t that make the plane explode or something? I’m sure it did in a Bruce Willis movie once? Or maybe twice? Or maybe in the return of the sequel, strikes again? It matters not; in my usual fashion (and thanks to a heavy session with my cousins on the South Bank last night) I’m asleep in minutes and by the time I wake up, the turbulence has settled and my attention turns to the chaps in the row beside me.
Paddy & Minty
In the aisle seat is Paddy. If the Made in Chelsea crew upstairs weren’t sure if Paddy was on board, they’ll know by now. Not one to keep quiet, Paddy hasn’t flown for about ten years, you know. And this is quite a big jumbo jet isn’t it? (Let’s hope Minty didn’t want any sleep…) Minty is beside me, in the middle seat. I was going to call him Sunshine (as he hasn’t managed to break a smile for the first half of the flight, despite Paddy’s efforts to make conversation). Minty wears Polo spectacles, tan coloured slacks and a blue stripy YSL shirt. I’m not sure he’s able to move his neck, as his head has been facing forward all the way so far. Woe betide he actually makes eye contact with either Paddy or myself, he’d potentially have to talk to us!
Paddy, meanwhile, is now friends with the group across the aisle (think he’s given up on Minty) and is already attracting quite an audience with his accent. At least two people have asked whereabouts he’s from (although one was an American, who thought his accent was Polish – bless – so that doesn’t really count).
Wot no playstation?
Given that I fell asleep almost immediately on take-off, I’ve only just clocked the entertainment panel in front of me. Joy – I can follow our route again, like I did on the way to Honkers! But hang on; by the time I figure out how to work the Playstation device, we were somewhere over the South China sea I think? This time there’s no Playstation, meaning I have to learn all over again. Oh rats. I’m not good with these sorts of devices – I can’t even use my digital TV at home (this is true – what little TV I watch, I navigate through Sky because I don’t know how to use my hyper-clever Sony guide thing.) One could argue this is down to laziness, but I figure that I watch it so infrequently, why bother learning how to work it directly, when the Sky guide does the job perfectly well?!
Anyway, I digress – no really – back to the entertainment thing. There’s a menu button, that should be a good start… ah, hang on, there’s an on/off button first (doh), then press Menu …eeek, I’ve got something to do with the brightness, contrast… I’ll end up steering the plane from here if I’m not careful… right, get rid of that lot (press Menu again? Yep, cool. He-hey I’m driving this thing already!) OK, so we have Movies, TV, Audio, Skyflyers Kids (shouldn’t that have an apostrophe somewhere?) Your Journey and High Life Preview. Naturally, I want to see where we are… oh great, Your Journey shows a map in Arabic. But the numbers are in English (does the Arabic written language not have its own numbers?) either way, it means I can make a guess on the details…
It’s 10:00, where are we?
We’re flying at 35,000ft, at 586pmh (with a 20mph tailwind), we’re somewhere over northern Iraq (hope they don’t have surface-to-air missiles down there), it’s -53 degrees outside and we’re about 1,246 miles from Dubai, scheduled to land in about 2 hours’ time. It’s currently 17:21 in London and 21:21 in Dubai, although my watch still says 10:00…
I wore my watch yesterday for an interview, with the intention of getting a new battery at lunchtime. Although it wasn’t working, I set it to 10:00 – the time of the interview – so the guys I was with wouldn’t notice that my watch had actually stopped. Needless to say, work was busy, and I didn’t get to the shop at lunchtime. So it still says 10:00. This caused much amusement last night, as Tom, Charlie and Wendy kept asking me the time, knowing I’d actually look at my watch before remembering it had stopped…) Do they have Mister Mint in Abu Dhabi? Or a decent cobbler who also does watch repairs? They wear sandals don’t they? Maybe it’ll be 10:00 all weekend? I digress again…
Minty is now asleep – like my Grandfather at Christmas after a few too many whiskeys, he has his arms folded and his headphones on, only he isn’t listening to anything? Whilst they’re BA’s best, they’re not Bose noise cancelling headphones, I’m afraid. Maybe he just doesn’t like Paddy and I, and this is subtle (blatant?) body language to tell us he doesn’t want to make small talk? Shame. He looks like he could’ve had a lot to moan about?
Paddy, meanwhile, has clearly tired his audience, the majority of whom are, strangely, also wearing their headphones? So he’s got his laptop out and is playing. I say playing, rather than working, because it appears he’s just moving the mouse around clicking on random icons, opening windows and folders, but not actually doing anything? Hang on, he’s wearing his headphones too? Perhaps it’s me they’re avoiding? I must stop being so chatty, and do something far less sociable, like write a blog…
Right, poor Vesper is about to run out of juice, so I’m going to try and find a movie on the Playstation.