Flights and waiting
Russell Degnan

You spend a lot of time waiting when you are flying. Before the flight because you have to get there so early, then more when it is delayed by weather five thousand kilometres away. Then more again while you wait for another long flight in the sterile, bizarre world of airport lounges.

The flights are worse though. At least for me. I never really sleep. My legs are too long, so I end up partly bent, and partly squashed against the back of the seat. I prefer to stand up and walk around, but that means getting an aisle seat - which I didn't on the Brisbane-Tokyo flight.

Every now and then though they, give something back. The birds-eye views from the front on the plane on take-off and landing is great - particularly at night with the lights of the runway mapped out, and the passing of clouds after take-off.

Better yet though, as the plane reached the coast of Japan. Nearer the ground the area around the airport is dull, grey, with off-green rivers meandering in steep but shallow valleys full of mist and low trees and spotted with smoke-stacks. From above the clouds though, the morning sun lit up sparkling craggy peaks in the distance. The low clouds obscuring the rest of the island, leaving you alone with the gold and pink peaks, and the white and purple clouds.

Update: The Tokyo-Amsterdam flight was full of little moments:
- Mt Fuji poking out of the clouds as we circled away.
- The stark contrast between the steep valleys and their dams and the heavy urban areas of the Japanese interior.
- Russian glaciers flowing into the sea of Japan.
- Thousands of kilometres of frozen, barren wasteland in the Siberian plains.
- The low crescent moon setting off the wing of the plane as we chased the sunset over the arctic circle.
- The Swedish and Danish islands and the cities of Stockholm, Malmo and Copenhagen sparkling away.

Days Spent Away 16th November, 2004 13:22:23   [#]