Thank you, Planes!
I remember one of my very first flights. It was a short-haul journey, Bucharest to Istanbul on a small propeller machine, operated by Turkish Airlines. At landing, the plane swung so much that I thought it was going to crash into the houses close to the airport. People on board were saying prayers and there was a sense of unspoken panic. I was looking out of the window thinking: right – this can’t end well. Ever since, my body has developed a strange self-defese mechanism. I fall asleep right before take-off and right before landing. And this happened on almost every single damn flight I have taken ever since. Quite a few, I can tell you. I counted 22 this calendar year alone, might in fact even be more. On one of my flights from London to Geneva, the captain came over before take-off to thank me for being such a frequent flyer. Obviously, I was sleeping and he didn’t wake me up. He recognised me on the way out and thanked me then. Such a nice little gesture (it was British Airways!).
Anyhow – as I was saying – I’d fall asleep as soon as I was sat down in my seat for years and years. Until last Sunday (July 20th). What happened in the mid-time was that either pro-Russian separatists from the Ukraine or the actual Ukrainian Army have [accidentally?] shot down a Malaysian Airlines plane, travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. At the time I write this post, it’s not confirmed who the culprit is, evidence points mostly towards the Russian separatists but there’s also other evidence that raises question marks. Anyhow, while the plane was entering Russia, a missile or more hit it. Almost 300 passengers died in a fraction of a second…way after take-off and way ahead of landing. Tragic. I won’t go into how absurd this whole story is and how angry it makes me each time I think about it. But the fact that it happened a few days before my own flight and that all the newspapers were plastered with images and stories from the crash site, it did affect my well established self-defense mechanism.
So here I was, entering an AirAsia plane to fly from Singapore to Krabi in Thailand. As usual, I went to my seat, placed my hand luggage above and fastened my seat-belt. Normally, that is my signal for ‘bed-time’. But no, I just could not fall asleep. So after getting over my impatience and stress-disorder, I started staring out of the window. What I saw was beautiful. I had almost forgot how amazing it can look to just stare out of a plane window. And since I’m travelling with a camera close by at all times, I took it out and took loads of shots. Below are a few:
View over Singapore – never realised it was such a green city
View over Singapore 2
Up in the air
Looking back at these pics, I just felt grateful that planes exist. Might sound silly, given how flying has become a mandatory part of modern existence, yet a few years ago this was not the case. Such views were a rarity and even rarer was actually getting to places such as these. And yes, there still are terrible tragedies (often just caused by ridiculous circumstances), but I decided to keep my eyes open a little more when I fly, otherwise who knows what beautiful moment I might miss…
And before I press ‘Publish’ – I’d like to express my anger once again, towards whatever happened with MH17. I hope the cause is found soon and whoever brought it down gets punished. Even so, those 300 people will not come back which makes me endlessly sad. Hope that their families have the strength to get over such a tragedy.