Thursday, March 1, 2012

"Status: Indefinite"

After a nap curled up in my sleeping bag lying on the terminal benches with my laptop under my head as a pillow like a bum, being stared at my a gaggle of shaved children from Mainland China, I woke up at 11pm bleary eyed and time-lost to my friends packing up and waiting for me to stir myself from my stupor. I hauled my all-of-a-sudden-too-large hiking bag to a terminal miles away and joined the line of more sleepy folk, most of whom were men, on our flight to Dar Es Salaam. From the terminal, we were shuttled via bus to the plane. As I and the first passengers got off the shuttle, we took turns shuffling forward slowly, none of us willing to venture up the steep airplane steps first. I won. I followed 2 women in high heels up the steep steps, found my seat, and felt myself shrink 2/3's of my already tiny height attempting to hoist my bag into the compartment (in a manner similar to Mario when he gets hopped on by the angry little mushrooms). After I rearranged some items, smashed some more items, and begged for help to squeeze my items up and away, I covered my face and hoped that the people in the row in front of us wouldn't give me the evil eye.

Ten or so minutes later, after exhausting the generic contents of the in flight magazine the PA system came on and our captain announced "sorry for the delay. we are going to have to restart the engine." a few minutes later, "the bus is ready for you." Confused, we all stood up, wondering if we should take our bags, what kind of delay this was, and why we were being asked to leave. I hesitated long enough to watch everyone else grab their bags before deciding it would be better to hoist mine on my burdened shoulders rather than lose everything (I seemingly own) on the plane, and scurried after everyone, trying not to trip over my bag's long stringy coattails. On the bus we watched with increasing anxiety as the plane was turned off and engineers scanned the cockpits with flashlights. Uh oh, not a good sign. As the bus took off, one disgruntled passenger broke the silence with a loud obnoxious wail, we paid for this! he yelled. In the uncomfortable silence that followed I saw darted glances and hidden smirks, and soon everyone was discussing something or other.

At the terminal, 100 or so tired and very confused passengers made a bee-line after 2 flight attendants in bright yellow flac jackets and we walked through the airport, waking sleeping folks, watching the nair salon attendants scraping spilled polish from the carpets, and avoiding the curious glance of other pity-eyed customers like sheep being led to the slaughter. As we wove our way through the airport, I stole a glance at the departures board, "11:40 Dar Es Salaam, Status: Indefinite" Shite, shite shite shite. The further we traveled from the terminal, the smaller my hopes grew of a timely departure. We were led to a large lounge with free wifi, food, drink, and even champagne. This may work to subdue some people, but not me. Especially after my friends and I put down an over $1000 deposit on our Kili trip and have to make a connecting flight at 7:30 am to Moshi. Indefinite??? So now I'm sitting here taking advantage of free wifi when I had hope and expected to be completely without connection to the real world by now, drinking for the first time in 2 years, fresh squeezed orange juice with a very bitter and sour look on my sunken grayed face... Oh well. At least there's facebook...

No comments:

Post a Comment