I have traveled alone previously, and for three weeks. In Europe. But, I was much younger then. These days, no matter how much I love to travel, my apprehension grows as I stand face to face with the reality of having to go to a far away city… for work. Alone. I suppose it’s not the travel itself that causes anxiety, but the thought of “there”, on my own, with people I am meeting for the first time.
I’m not a morning person so I choose flights that depart a little later, say about or after ten o’clock, schedule and cost permitting.
My flight is delayed. It’s my perfect opportunity to finally use the slow lounge that’s available to me, as a Private Banking client of First National Bank. Nothing would dissuade me, although I was held up just a little. The power of persuasion of the shoe shine folks cannot be ignored by weaklings like me. Avoiding them from the start is advisable, unless you want your shoes to shine. However, do not let them shine only the front part of the shoes that stick out of the extra long pants you wear.
The problem with being a non-morning person is that all these (see pictures below), which I would normally devour and gobble heartily and courageously, or perhaps savor appreciatively and with fervor, are wasted. For me. Not even after ten o’clock in the morning.
I am not saying that I did not have any. Of course I did.
Hopefully, next time, especially for international flights, I will be waiting for an evening flight and I will have more time in the lounge. Then, I can try a drink or two, other than lemon-flavored sparkling water and latte.
The delay didn’t go beyond the scheduled delay. Basking in the wonderful world of lounging with ridiculous amount of sustenance was brief. For me, that is. It was possible that around the same time, some passengers were enjoying the spa.
I did manage a couple of selfies as shown above and below. I took them rather stealthily as this practice still makes me embarrassed at times.
I must reiterate this: always listen to airport announcements!
So… I thought let me use the bathroom facilities in the slow lounge. I suspected that it’s a lot better than the main airport or the plane. My suspicion was accurate.
Here is the bathroom I opted to use, before leaving the comfort and luxury of the slow lounge.
After the lavatory visit, anxious I would get left behind, I decided to follow up at reception if my flight was still delayed. I had been waiting for the announcement on the update. As I asked, they realized, the first boarding call was, in fact, being called. I walked away as one of the ladies made the announcement via the public address system. I did not pay attention. I knew I had to proceed to the boarding gate.
Confidently, I walked to Gate D4. It was empty.
Was I dreaming?
Was it a joke?
I checked a TV screen for my flight to double-check the gate number even if my boarding pass said D4. Indeed, it was changed. I walked all the way back and a bit more to D1.
Do not ignore the PA system!
Boarded and ready for take-off, I turned my phone’s flight mode on. I contemplated on keeping it on, having done so before when flying private, but I decided I was an obedient child and I switched it off. I shifted my focus to outside [of our small plane].
Yes, I was going to fly on a small plane. I’m not fond of them. 747s, I find, are slightly better. But, 737s are not that small. I consoled myself saying I’ve flown smaller before. A Citation I is rather tiny, accommodating 6 passengers.
I watched the airplanes around me. The green Kululas and orange Mangos—I know they are supposed to be yellow… some people don’t know colors—look like they’re there to cheer up the blandness of boring white planes. I took a picture.
(That was earlier. I had gone too fast with my story; this was before I switched off my phone. I might have to buy a point and shoot again. Limitations of mobile phones as cameras…)
We were finally moving. So was my mind. Right then, I was wishing there was some recorder that took note of my thoughts as I thought them; no, not when I said aloud my thoughts. I don’t want a dictaphone. There are almost always people around me. I still want to be seen as normal and sane. Even selfies sometimes make me apprehensive.
I have had my lunch. I didn’t excuse myself. Apologies. I am back.
It’s only 12:30, up in the sky, and I have had a latte, more than half a half-liter of sparkling water with a hint of lemon and lime, some fruits, milk tart, nougat, pain au chocolate, and airplane food. Yesterday, I didn’t have anything except for two cups, a mug and a cup, actually, of coffee… although I think I get served cappuccino every morning in the office.
Back to selfies… or taking pictures, I do get shy still. I know, right! One of the servers at the slow lounge offered to take a picture of me with the beautiful spread of deliciousness to be included on this blog post. I politely refused, and added with a laugh that I didn’t want to be too famous. Sometimes, I do think I have what it takes to go into comedy.
And back to before take-off… I was writing during my flight although the edit is happening only now, being before publishing weeks later.
I have a window seat. I prefer to look out of the window.
Just before take off, there is a queue. That small orange Mango—I know, I know—is waiting to take off. Behind it, at the turn, is a bigger A330 Turkish Airways…? Airlines…? I will have to Google. I can’t take a photo because my Galaxy is already switched off. Just picture it in your head. Then, it’s us, a small Com Air plane, pretending to be British Airways. We’re parallel to the Mango. We, the passengers of both flights, could have waved at each other.
Orange Mango–I know, is it an orange or a mango? Seriously–disappears quickly. Turkish plane prepares to head out to Eastern Europe. I hear our engine revving louder as we start off again. It’s more a humming sound as we glide on consistent speed. Turkey is still moving but not off the ground, but surely faster than the fastest car… I hope. Is it planning to lift its body? Granted, this Turkey is a lot bigger than the Orange… ah, Mango.
We’re ready, but we’re just idling. Turkey hasn’t lifted off yet? That runway better be long. Waiting… Ah, finally.
It’s actually quite scary. Thankfully, I have walls around me. They give me the sense of security so my knees do not go weak and I do not end up with jelly legs… although jelly legs will be better than Deadpool’s legs after his encounter with the Juggernaut.
It may have all sounded exciting up to this point, but no. The flight was uneventful, apart from the fact that we couldn’t be served hot drinks as the fasten seat belt had to be turned back on because of some—as in tiny—turbulence. Obviously, I don’t fear flying.
(The same thing happened on the way back.)
As for my meeting people for the first time, it went better as well as it could. I had no reason whatsoever to be apprehensive about showing up in a strange office, in a city far away from my home city, where I knew no one. I am almost tempted to ask why I don’t do this whole traveling solo for work.
Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures with my hosts. I was shy. Kind of…
…but here is the photo of the orange mango. 🙂
Next post will be some sort of review—a short review—of the Garden Court Kings Beach, in Port Elizabeth. It is a 3-star hotel sufficient for business travel purpose, it seemed, and it was, except…