Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In-flight

Seven miles above the earth, sipping on Dom Perignon while I nibble on Haagen Dasz chocolate ice-cream with some kind of pie that has orange peel in it. Bailey’s on ice frappe to follow, and for the first time, I wish air travel still permitted smoking. A cheap sweet cigar would have been SO good here. Or perhaps a fill of Amphora Cherry Cavendish.

I love upgrades. Sybaritic? Decadent? Bring it on, I say. And the pleasure is all the sweeter for knowing that sooner or later, this man will say “Dude, you’re doing that on MY money!” Thanks, dude, now with the aforementioned pride and admiration there’s also gratitude.

Far below us is Iran. The porthole frames an expanse of mud. From up here, it looks like Reza Shah Pallavi and the Ayatollah ruled over the world’s largest WWE mosh-pit. Then a ridge appears above the plains, like a crocodile's back surfacing. A great river valley runs from north to south, diagonally across the plane’s nor’westerly track. A series of little lakes, each with its own patch of cloud standing guard above it, dwindle into the north like yeti footprints. The in-flight screen shows us flying across the Arabian Sea, skirting Karachi and indeed all of Pakistan, entering Iranian air-space and passing way south of Kandahar and Kabul (north of Muscat and Bandar Abbas, I must post again about the magic of names). Our craft will pass directly over a town called Zahedan. Is it in these mountains that now appear below us, dark grey and stippled with patches of ice, little cousins of the Mountains of Mordor that rise above the northern horizon? Or does Zahedan lie in the Plains of Mud that must resume on the other side of the mountains? Our flight path lies north of Esfahan, south of Tehran, past Yerevan, over the Black Sea, past the south-facing port of Sevastopol and on over the Alps. Such romance in these names, such visions of deserts and caravans, ice creaking under oaken hulls and fir-bristled crags in the drifting snow.

The mountains I can see at this moment, however, could do with a make-over. Perhaps even personal stylists.

Then suddenly, dramatically, a huge massif, chocolate dark with crumbly crags, dusted with fresh cream and icing sugar*

I love these flying geography lessons. Like Goh Cheng Leong brought to life, or the Oxford Atlas from Metropolitan Book Store, only in bright new 3-D. If only I could connect to Google Earth in-flight. That can’t be more than 3 years away, watch this space.

Meanwhile, the sunset glows through the portholes over on the other side of the cabin. And I find some Bulgari in the wash-room. Tedium is so much more tolerable when one smells good.

* - I can’t download the picture from my phone without the connector cable. Which is back in Calcutta.

18 comments:

Space Bar said...

ah...goh cheng leong. lose companion of my teen years. sigh.....

IdeaSmith said...

A tip from a techno-greek dying to show off: If your phone is Bluetooth enabled, you can transfer to a laptop or another phone whose cable is available.

Vivek Kumar said...

Goh Cheng Leong.. well.. now, there's a memory!

I see that you are also (conveniently) in flight from the headless chicken of Kolkata. Well done!

nehaj said...

Glad to see you back.

Tabula Rasa said...

not quite sure how you went from iran to karachi to muscat while holding on to your nor'westerly tack, but good on the dom p, i say.

??! said...

Bailey's! Baileyyyyyyy's!! Baaaaaaaaaaaaailey's !!!

I like.

eve's lungs said...

Such tedium indeed -dude, upgrades, Dom Perignon,pie with orange peel, Bailey's - so sated with the good life that you mistake a mountain for mud pie -flying geography lessons and Bulgari in the washroom ????? Decadent hedonism is what I call it - and there's a bit of my money in it so thank me too .
BTW - Goh Cheng Leong - aah school and Mrs Bodhanwalla .

BongoP'o'ndit said...

Hmmm.....Dom P. and Bulgari - quite the decadence, if I may say so, even for the non-cattle class.

The less unfortunate make do with cheap merlot
(although the kangaroo airlines does serve a middling shiraz even on its domestic sector).

btw, bubbly with ice-c. ?! not quite up my alley, but sounds like an interesting mash-up :)

D said...

Oh, so that's where you've been! And I was beginning to think there was a jinx on the blogs I blogrolled, making their owners disappear!

Renovatio said...

If I had a million dollars
We wouldn't have to walk to the store
If I had a million dollars
We'd take a limousine 'cause it costs more

km said...

I wish air travel still permitted smoking.

An online petition is called for. Because, you know, after all the frenetic activity in the Mile High Club, one needs a relaxing smoke.

ArSENik said...

Dom Perignon with Haagen Dasz. Hmm...interesting combination. To each his own I guess.

If they allowed in-flight smoking, I would almost always fly KLM, despite its shitty reputation, coz you know, when we are over Dutch airspace, no air hostess can stop me from joining the more literal Mile High club.

Opaline said...

The romance of names, shotti. Beautifully described too.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

rzSpace Bar, I'll go looking for an old copy.

I-Smith, apparently I need a Bluetooth password. Which I don't know. Thanks anyway.

Vivek, back in a few hours. Here's to red meat!

Nehaj, likewise.

Prof, go check the tenses.

??!, how about some nice Cockburn's port?

E Lungs, well then, thank you, it was luvverly.

Pondit Moshai, next time I'll have the champers IN the ice-cream. The ultimate smoothie!

D, still very much here.

J.A.P.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Renovatio, is that the Scouse band?

KM, I'm afraid I'll have to take your word for it about the Mile High Club. Are memberships open for geriatrics?

Arsenik, safer to land in Amsterdam.

Opaline, open a map of Central Asia, read the place-names out loud - when they roll off your tongue it's like a coloured high, pages from story-books long ago.

J.A.P.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Renovatio, is that the Scouse band?

KM, I'm afraid I'll have to take your word for it about the Mile High Club. Are memberships open for geriatrics?

Arsenik, safer to land in Amsterdam.

Opaline, open a map of Central Asia, read the place-names out loud - when they roll off your tongue it's like a coloured high, pages from story-books long ago.

J.A.P.

Mala said...

Oh- so THAT explains why you were online at odd hours. Am back now. Waaahh.

B. Jabberjee said...

Cheap cigars, hurrah. Henri Wintermans are usually decent. Is this a holiday?

Also, would you mind if I added a link to your blog at The Unpronounceable Grape?

-Jabberjee