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Friday, September 05, 2008

Live from 33,000 feet above Siberia

view from the plane: Scandinavia from 33,000 feet

A photo I took a while back, showing somewhere in Scandinavia from 33,000ft

Seat 40K.

It's been a good flight so far. The LHR Termonal 5 experience lived up to expectations - all very convenient, and no stress whatsoever. The only tiem I felt uncomfortable was when waiting for the gate to ppen, As expected, theer were quite a few Japanese people waiting with me. It felt odd to be in a Japanese speaking environment. Kind of disconcerting. I guess there might be a bit more of that when we land.

I'm really impressed with BA's in-flight entertainment, It's the first time I've ever been on a plane where you have a choice of over 200 movies / TV programs ? Radio shows (including 'I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue'), all on demand, You can pause them whenever you want, rewind if you miss a bit etc - how they provide that for hundreds of passengers simultaneously I don't know. There must be a very big computer on board somewhere.

I'm also really struck by the fact that we're actually flying. I mean, this plane is huge, it must weigh a tonne (or two)! I just find it incredible, looking out of the window beside me at the two huge Rolls Royce engines strapped to the bottom of an enourmous wing, that we've been able to create such a big, complex machine that is capable of staying in the air for so long, travelling at such speeds (600mph ish), transporting so many people in such comfort,

Pepé is pretty impressed too. It's his first time on a plane. He likes the view. It must be about midnight 'local' time (7.30pm GMT, 3.30am JST), so it's virtually piytch black. But there's still two sources of light, the first of which is the stars twinkling brightly. For a time I had my face pressed against the window, trying to mak eout the constellations. Not much luck there, but I did see a shooting star.That made me smile.

The second (occasional) source of light is the cities of Russia. Under a thin klayer of cloud about 9km below us, they glow like luminous marshmallows, (big luminous marshmallows).

During the trip to Heathrow by train and bus, I went through my thoughts about Catherine following yesterdays reading and talking. That coincided with the train passing through Oxford where my younger sister lives, and I was suddenly overcome with sadness at the thought of leaving my family.

It's not as if I see them regularly in the UK (I only saw my siblings maybe twice or three times a year when at uni), but when I do see them, it means a lot. Thinking about the loss of Catherine, and the fact that I won't be able to see my brothers, sisters and parents for some time was very upsetting. I've not felt like that on previous trips to Japan as they have always been for limited time periods, but what with this trip being open-ended, well, it changes things.

The closer we get to Japan though, the more that reality creeps in. The thought of walking down a Tokyo street or riding on a Tokyo train with *Twinkle* fills me with happiness - is it really going to happen later today?! I'm also looking forward to going to bed and sleeping on a comfy futon (with *Twinkle* ;-) - I fidn it hard to sleep on planes, wven when I'm as sleepy as I am now.

Anyway, I think I'll sign off for now. Time for a bit more in-flight entertainment.




Blogger Compost Fred said...

£940! How about working all night too?

8/9/08 21:50  

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