Despite the huge improvements made to online booking websites, a long-haul plane journey at night is still an inhuman endeavour which I find spiritually unsteadying. My departure gate, apart from being in the horrible Heathrow Terminal 4 was a labyrinth. The snaking queues of sweating would-be tourists brought to mind a horrible dystopic futuristic human processing plant. Perhaps we were due to be turned into Soylent (Green). But no, eventually there was a plane at the end of the tunnel. Always amazing how hard it is for people to locate and sit in their assigned seats. You’d think that was easy?
Being a smug bastard, and proof that the new class system involves people that can use a web browser versus people who can’t, I had checked out the best seats on Seatguru.com and got a nice 2-seat arrangement at the back of the plane, where the fuselage tapers off. This means you get a nice large space on your right to stretch out one of your legs (the right one, assuming you are sitting facing the correct way – i.e. not like an Australian).
Small talk started and ended with my antipodean neighbour quickly. After watching an episode of the Wire (the one where Avon Barksdale’s towers are blown up – Poo: “I got my first pussy in those towers with Shaentelle” – “They should put up a monument, sell tourists little models of your dick”) I applied my luxury padded eye-shades, foam ear plugs, blanket, furry inflatable neck support and rested against my microweave foldable cushion (thanks Hannah x). I then proceeded to not sleep, solidly, for the next 11 hours.
Actually perhaps the journey is better measured in litres of bottom wind expelled. Note to self: do not order large mixed mezze at lebanese restaurant in Edgware Road before getting on a long-haul flight. My seat position actively resisted the expulsion of air. Trying to forcibly fart against a seat, enough Valsalva to let it escape, but not so much that it wakes my innocent neighbour is a life-altering experience and a test of nerve/skill. Believe. I gave up eventually and ended up with severe colick.
Anyway, I had a dump (sorry, do you want to know all this? Let me know.) and watched The Dark Knight instead. The sight of waking passengers queueing up for their morning dump (and eventually being told to sit down because we were landing) makes you realise that we are all the same (at least physiologically/gastrointestinally – is that a word?).
It was 15:20 local time when we arrived on schedule at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport. This had been described by the British Airways Cabin Crew For Your Comfort and Safety Officer over the speakers as “one of the most massivest airports in the world”. I’m assuming that’s not a chain, like “Small Luxury Hotels of the World” – someone should start it. “Most Massivest Airports of the World Incorporating Fuck-Me That’s A Big Railway Station (of the World)”.
I grabbed a freshly squeezed orange juice with “Freshness” (guarana, Vitamin C and some other chemicals) and sped to my hotel in the waiting limo.