It’s not every day that you realise you really, really don’t want to die.
For me, today was that day.
After worrying that we would miss our flight from the Nepalese mountain town Pokhara to Kathmadu, due to a layer of stubborn fog. We raced to the airport only to be put through a beeping metal detector (we didn’t have to take off our bags) and ushered one by one into a curtained room with ‘Ladies’ written on a piece of A4 paper tacked to the top.
Erin (my dear friend) and I looked at each other in fear. What would happen in that curtained room? Were they going to strip search us?
Erin went in first (feed the littlest person to the lions) and I didn’t hear any screams, so when “NEXT” was belowed into my face, I nervously complied.
There were two Nepalese women in the tiny curtained space and they guestured I open my bag. As I began to unzip said luggage, I was simultaneously felt up and down by various pairs of hands. I felt like I was back in Melbourne at a hidedous club where people paw at your breasts. Moments later I emerged feeling slightly defiled and a little flattered.
It was then that we realised it was 15 minutes past our boarding time. After worriedly searching for someone to ask (and finding no one) we resigned ourselves to waiting for a man in a yellow jacket to yell a number at us. He never called our number. Instead, we realised that our last chance to fly out that day was probably with everyone else, so we headed the stampede and got on a plane. Was it ours? Who knows. We had seats and that’s what counts.
Then commenced the most horrendous flight of mine (and I’ll speak for her) Erin’s lives. First, they handed out sweets which made everyone’s breath smell like baby diarrhea. They were probably durian flavoured.
That was when the turbulence started.
I don’t know about you, but when I fly I try to forget that I am essentially in a shipping container with wings. This is a lot harder to do when that shipping container is being buffeted by winds that makes it seem like a tiny piece of flotsam on the high seas.
I was scared. I actually started thinking about how my parents would find out about my death. Finding my body parts strewn across the Himalaya’s… I was gripping the arm rests with both hands and my knuckles were white. Some one screamed.
It was then that I realised another life changing thing about myself. (Oh the things we learn when we travel and “find ourselves”).
I am a terrified giggler.
I laugh in the face of sheer terror. You might think this is a positive, but it’s actually really unsettling. I thought I was going to die and I was laughing so hard I could not stop. I had tears in my eyes, as the plane wobbled and jolted. I had to hold my hands over my mouth to stop bellowing at the awful hilarity. We were all going to perish.
As I tried to stop laughing and focus on the fact that we would probably survive because we were at the back of the plane. Erin uttered her first sentence since the turbulence began.
“I am not going to die with these people. They all stink”.
All hope that I would accept death without snorting through my nose vanished and I was shaking with laughter as we finally began our descent into Kathmandu airport. Where shaken and stirred we were then swindled 600 rupees for a cab (because we just wanted to get the fuck out of there).
So, we survived the nightmare flight. It actually was a nightmare including the man with the enormous head sitting opposite us (he didn’t have a medical condition so we can laugh).
And I found out some valuble things about my response to imminent doom. Ah… travel. What a way to enjoy life.