My impression of a refined, scholarly English gent must have hit a nerve in the oversized knickers of the amiable, motherly woman who checked me in for the fist of my three flights. Not one spare seat next to me, but two! Due to the nicotine overdose (absence of greenery; legalities of airports) there lies the insidious seed of a migraine in my anxious brain…
Malaysian Air Hostess Watch- Lithe, nubile fairies with eyes that sparkle like the sun coming off the ocean. Practised smiles which ooze subservience, finding their roots in typical Asian professionalism. Polite, ultra smart robots.
700ml pure water already down the gullet. If there is one main objective, other than staying alive, to this gruelling hemispherical exchange then it is: STAY HYDRATED. This means that I must endure a 26 hour period in which I stride forcefully against my recognition of my British blood and nature; NO TEA NO TEA!. Have I finally broken free from the shackles of my own shape-shifting façade of reason?????No…
Part guess, part understanding of human anatomy has led me to tentatively conclude that the regrettable bout of acute motion sickness- which resulted in my wheelchair-bound entrance to Melbourne last August (2005) – was due in no small measure to a terrifying lack of fluids….I have never been able to enjoy the rigours of corkscrew revolutions on a rollercoaster or air travel. Even the cross channel ferry trip between France and the UK has in the past caused me embarrassing and fiercely unwanted physical hardship.
I have generally managed quite well on the majority of high altitude journeys…Of course except when I WAS A NIPPER, around 4 or 5 years old: I screamed like a ring wraith for most of the Australia/UK plane rides. And it wasn’t until I developed the speech prowess, a fair few years later, to convey my pain, that a doctor was able to diagnose ‘his sinuses can’t equalize the pressures associated with flying’ and reccomened a bottle of sweetatsing liquid which allevaited the lack of equaliztion when my head was raised to 9 miles above sea level. Thankfully my sinuses can now function more pleasantly when my body is zooming through the clouds at 400mph.
In line with the traditional meteorological outlook of my destination, the UK, I leave Melbourne city amid a deluge of warm rain….
I just ventured into the shitter with the firm but gratefully not desperate intention of emptying my bowels but I was rebuffed in my excretory efforts by the ‘hole in the ground’ Sri Lankan toilet. Yes, I have used these simple designs in the past; I spent many an hour perfecting my ‘squat and shit’ technique in India and Nepal back in 2000, but alas I now lack the confidence of maintaining an accurate trajectory and I am already so damn tired that over exertion may well cause some form of collapse. Which would be decidedly unedifying.
8 hours of flying has been completed almost beyond the reaches of reasonable complaint, but the food –aboard Malaysia Airlines K126- was woeful and I would guess dangerous for a weaker stomach than my own fortified internal furnace. I watched The Sentinel during the flight, which proved as satisfying as the on-board cuisine. Several bouts of acutely fitful sleep were welcome but I am still undecided as to whether it is more beneficial for my body and mind to peg my eyelids open and stay awake. Lulling my being into a false sense of relaxation and rest only to suddenly jump up like a startled jack in the box at the sound of the engines changing their thrust from moderate to deafening as the plane traverses a sticky area of cloud and atmosphere.
I can’t shake the taste of these Ginger anti-travel sickness pills from my mouth no matter how many ml of water attempts to flush the potent herbs remnants from my body. Still why complain? Because I’m British and proud???…SO far only fatigue is a problem, which does imply that the natural remedy is working as hoped.
Managed a 30 second call to HQ back in Kent, UK…mother was jubilant to hear my voice despite it’s obvious ratty tone and implication of complete mental disarray. Still, nice to connect.
Boarding of my second flight commences in 15 minutes. the next, the smallest, stage on my escape route from that barren hunk of rock we call Australia is a paltry 3 hour dash from Malaysia to Sri Lanka, which will be followed by yet another 3 hour break on terra firma before I embark on the final part of this vitality sapping transglobal mission of madness.
Full face ninja- how the hell did she get through the ID checks???Is her passport photo pitch black??Next to the ninja woman sits a casually dressed, jovial faced, heavily bearded husband. Can she see him??Has she ever seen him?? Does she make her left and right turns, up and down steps by receiving oral direction via mic and earphones clandestinely placed under her ninja mask, originating from her vastly less restricted (by religion) husband???
This place is clean. Operating room clean. Every toilet has a dedicated 24/7 cleaner. Any direction I choose to gaze offers ridiculously sombre airport workers and pristine architectural tranquillity…lush green flora, sizzling waterfalls, Burger King….KLIA (Kuala Lumpur international airport) is generously touted as ‘best airport in the world’ but I prefer Heathrow…Fuck I wish I was there now. It seems 7000 miles away.
The eyes are undoubtedly the window to the soul. Surely it would be more honourable to have Muslim women cover their eyes (the only part of the body which shows the naked self) rather than all the body but the seeing globes of mystery.
The ugly (or are they men?) ninjas maintain solemnity and religious decorum.
Severe fatigue lessens the conscious mind first and foremost. Then the body follows. However, instinct becomes crazy potent; the new leader of being…Right now I could feverishly fuck a sheep… The new comptroller sitting at the control console of Daniel..The handful of constraints associated with normal mental/physical levels of existence are relinquished for good or ill. Is what remains the core? A core? The energy to control is the first to go (as it should be). Thankfully, the electric impulses surging around my loins don’t have the physical energy reservoir to call upon to put my bestiality plans into action (and there aren’t any sheep nearby)…If I am an orange then I have been well and truly peeled, leaving only my juciy- but potentially posionous to he wrong palette- inner segments.
Sri Lankan Airlines-
Large area of legroom. Stewards are lovely; sincere, friendly…what religion are Sri Lankans??? Tamil/ Singhalese…
The token white guy: me…I have concluded- to my satisfaction- that all of the dangerous looking ninjas are in fact female as suggested by their attire, but I can’t be 100% sure without a strip search. But if I attempted that kind of routine I would very quickly be captured and fed slowly through a mincer to come out the other side as curry meat. And Rightly so.
I wish I had the opportunity to experience some of the proper Colombo (not just the transit lounge at the airport) because the natives of this country I have met in the past have proved wholesome, family orientated and truly benign individuals.
As with trains and automobiles, toilet usage is restricted to when the plane is in motion. My over hydrating procedures led me to backtrack out of the gate 18 lounge so I could relieve myself. Sweating buckets and counting down the seconds while first the elderly, then the families were invited onto the plane, I reached a point where I was about to piss my pants. Which would have been an error of unprecedented magnitude. So with my legs looking increasingly as one, in a desperate attempt to halt the flow of urine, I demanded my release from the secure area… ‘Excuse me mate, I seriously have to pee…the consequences of a refusal of this request would be dire…’////
Colombo- the city, not detective, though I am a fan of the ace gumshoe (he has been something of an idol over the years). Polished tiles line the floor. Large window walls offer gloriously sun drenched views of the sweltering Sri Lankan jungle only metres from the runway. How I wish I could stay here for a week or five. During the descent to the boiling tarmac, the clear sky afforded me such a tantalizing glimpse of lush coconut groves, pristine sandy beaches and of course, the inviting azure ocean lapping against the shores of this tiny island situated only a 100 miles south of chaotic India.
The women here are not repressed. Even the ninjas sport digital cameras and Versace shades. But then again how well can I gauge the happiness of a veiled wench through a brief (for fear of being rude) glance at eyes which invariably are of the same colour (dark brown) as every other female in the building. Eyes which seemingly have little or no interest in meeting my inquisitive radar.
Strangely I thoroughly enjoy playing the rarity. Excitable attention pours out of the children, while the teenagers and young men seem at worst slightly aggravated by my presence.
‘relaks inn’..what a wicked name for a bar! Good ol’ relak. if I had the money or the time I would gladly purchase a lassi or onion bhaji. Or perhaps a vegetable pakhora…
Much like in India, the men here are openly physically familiar. And arm draped over a mate’s shoulder, two buddies walking side by side, hand in hand…
The underlying sentiments of these people seem to be of a laid back, non-bothersome variety. It is a very pleasant atmosphere. my body is beginning to feel and show the effects of joule intensive travelling….Must eat…But what , where and how?? The only currencies accepted for exchange here are yankee $ and EUROS, which counts me out…If only this laptop bag (complete with numerous books, ID, CDs, and other items deemed a necessity for my person or too heavy for hold luggage) wasn’t gaining weight by the hour I could surely find a beaurea de change which would swap my Malaysian ringgits for sri lankan umm….sri Lankan pennies??? And then sustenance!..But it is not to be and I must resign myself to the slim hope of receiving adequate nourishment aboard my final flight…
First major pieces of news from the UK:>…16 year old lad from Tyneside stabbed to death on his birthday…a 4 year old boy led from his house to a tree, tied up then bricked in the head, Humberside….family battered to death in Cheadle Hume(Manchester area), father fled to Thailand…