Flight from Bangkok to Nairobi

2 Jan

December 4, 2010

Bangkok to Nairobi flight on Kenyan Airlines comprised of the Asian and African delegation – Chinese, Japanese, Indians, Africans. The minority passengers were your Europeans and Americans.

Fascinating to watch each country’s personal space policies. Meaning, who pushes and shoves in a line to go nowhere. Guess who won the push and shove war? Chinese. Hands down. They may be small, but they’re fast. The Africans were not at all pleased with this pushing.  But, what do expect in the land of 1.3 billion. China is sooo going to eat Africa one day….

I had a window seat in toilet class. Next two two African ladies wearing their traditional garb. Since I’m American and don’t push and really don’t care, I was one of the last to board the plane. I smiled at the ladies and pointed to me seat, indicating, “Yes, tallgirl squeezes in there…” No reaction. They just stared at me. Didn’t move.

Did they expect me to crawl over? I pointed again. They just looked at me. Fine. I’ll first find a bin for my bag and then throw these long legs over the two of them. That should get their attention. I opened all the bins. Full.

Now, everyone is staring at the tall, white girl. Why is that? We all do it – staring intently as people struggle with their luggage. No one helps. It’s like we have this attitude, “We had to shove, squeeze and s– so should you…” I kept opening bins. Full. Now, I’m at the toilet. Well, that’s not going to work. I found a bin full of soft duffels and purses. I know I could rearrange and shove my bag in.

Knowing everyone was watching, I was deliberate and slow. Why rush. Why look like a fool. Why not teach them the art of patience. Right. I was actually praying that my zipper was closed, my sweat mustache goes unnoticed and these random bags aren’t full of rancid juices.

About two mins into bin reorganizing, an African man stood up and opened another bin. He moved his luggage around and made room for my bag in less than 15 seconds. He was probably fed up with my proper, patient, methodological maneuvering and wanted me out of his sight. That, or my sweat mustache was dripping. No matter. I thanked him. And, thanked him. Everyone still just stared with blank expressions.

I walked back up to the ladies. Point again. Smile. Point. They don’t move. I tilt my head to the side and said, “Excuse me, that’s my seat…” They roll their eyes. Talk in their language. Still, not moving. I noticed my seat was loaded up with their purses, blankets and crap. The seat arm was up and I realized, the woman in the middle was overweight. Looks like there will be some snuggling tonight.

I waited. They finally moved. I wiggled myself in and sat. It’s now 1 AM. The flight attendants start their song and dance. OK. This is not your Asian airline with beautiful, coiffed young girls in suits and heels. Nope. Kenyan Airlines’ flight attendants look more like backers for Miami. All very large men. Don’t think I’ll be asking them for an extra blanket…

I was exhausted. Before curling up with my plastic, blow-up pillow, I checked out the movie options. My remote was broken. Looks like sleep it is… I tried to turn sideways and press my body up against the window. But, was unable to turn for the lady next to me was large and in charge. When Mr. Line Backer walks by, I’ll be requesting a glass of wine or two. I mean, can’t pass up free vino….

Wine came. I gulped it. And, closed my eyes, praying the plane arrives safely to Nairobi. I just hope I don’t wake until we hit the Kenyan coastline.  It’s only 9+ hours away… Think I’ll be ordering a third glass.  The women next to me is growing…

3 Responses to “Flight from Bangkok to Nairobi”

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