Just back off me hols. Yep, we’ve had a wonderful couple of weeks in Kerala, India. Splendid grand hotel with wonderful staff (The Leela, Kovalam), yummy food, fantastic pool, and beautiful scenery. Who could ask for more.
Me. I could.
Like everyone else I love being on holiday. Not a care in the world, the only decisions to be made is whether to lie by the beach or pool, or what to choose from the buffet that won’t add on immediate pounds and make your wobbly bits even more wobbly when you lurch on to the sunbed in your cossie. I don’t even mind getting a bit burnt here and there, or even being covered in bites that keep me awake. What I really don’t like about holidays though is the getting there and back.
Despite being fairly well travelled, I still loathe airports. The endless queuing. Firstly. to book in. Will we get nice seats? Together? Will we get seats? (The last question being the direct result of being victim to the scandalous overbooking that apparently all airlines undertake. We were fortunate that through bribery that particular airline managed to persuade some other passengers to relinquish their seats to us. Others in our group weren’t so lucky.)
Then of course you wave your bags goodbye, wondering, as they trundle off, if they’re ever to be seen again, and if so, will they be in one piece. We always pack spare keks and swimwear in our hand luggage… just in case. I figure, at least, if I have swimwear I’ll be able to sink myself in a nice cool pool while I’m waiting for the rest of my carefully chosen accoutrements to arrive.
Through into departure lounge via the queue for security. I always beep. Why do I always beep? No idea. I take off my belts, bangles and shoes, but still I beep. Is it my underpinnings, being of the wired variety? Do other ladies that have wired underpinnings beep? Surely I’m not the only one. Suffice it to say, I beep, so I need patting down by a severe looking security woman.
After patting me down and finding nothing, one unfortunate woman in an airport in Nepal, chose to search my handluggage. Poking about with her bare hands she managed to find a very squishy manky banana in the bottom that I had completely forgotten about. I will never forget her look of disgust as she pulled it from the bag. She didn’t search further, just waved me on. That’s the ticket!!
Anyhoo, eventually through security. There is the interminable wait. There’s only so many times you can walk round the shops in a departure lounge. Who buys stuff in there anyway? I’m always puzzled by the luggage shops. Isn’t it a little late for that? So we sit and people watch and eat uninspiring sandwiches until we are given the gate number and cheerfully told it’s a ten minute walk away. En masse down the walkways, rushing as if they might leave without us when we know we’ve still got more than another hour before there’s even a chance the plane will be fully boarded. I’m worn out before we’ve started.
Then there’s the almighty rush to board. Everyone pushing and shoving, fighting for space in the overhead lockers. Only then can you claim your seat. You know, the one next to the very big person/very chatty person/snorer/dribbler/drunk/weak bladdered…the one in front of the kid whose up for spending the next five hours kicking the back of your seat whilst either whining or screaming. The one with the air hostess who believes in service with a sneer, not the nice one who works the other side of the aisle. God I hate planes.
Then take off. I still white-knuckle at every take off. I try to go to a happy place, honest I do, but there really isn’t one that can include those scary engine noises and the sicky feeling as the earth drops away.
Settle in, get into a film maybe, and the food comes. The little tray of horrors. Everything crammed on it like a jigsaw with spillage. You eat what you can and are stuck with the table down across your knees when the bloke next to you decides he ‘needs to go’. Great. If anyone has found a way of successfully dealing with that scenario please let me know.
Meal time over, you try and nap. It really is impossible to get comfy in a plane seat. Try as you might, your legs are never right…. straight out under the seat in front and your bum falls off the not wide enough seat. It’s not wide enough widthways to curl up either. You try some sort of in between thing with your head propped on your hand, and, despite the kicking in the back, just about manage to nod off, when the bloke next to you wants another wee. Shouldn’t have had that third beer should you mate.
Eventually, the pilot lets you know that you’ll be landing shortly, but first we have to go ’round and ’round for half an hour because there is a queue. Who’da thought it?
Despite the warnings to ‘remain in your seat with your belt buckled’ everyone unbuckles and stands up the minute the wheels touch the ground, and there is the usual push and shove to get off the plane.
For our trip to India, there was a three hour wait before starting again on another plane. What can I say, it was great to arrive, and even greater to eventually see my luggage clunking on to the carousel. It was also great to forget the prospect of the return journey, if only for a while.
So yes, I would ask for more. I would ask for one of those machines like they have in Star Trek, that will beam me to my destination (with my luggage!) in the time it takes to say ‘chicken or fish’. Come on, this is the twenty first century, surely someone has invented it by now?