Hi all. As you know I am now in Europe. It is very different to Asia, but also different being on my own too. A taste of Argentina in some ways. Most flights are pretty normal sorts of things, and there is no need to write about them. This flight however, became special, so I thought I would share it with you.
I got to Narita airport in plenty of time, thanks to Brodie, but stuffed around on the Internet and at the shops for a bit. I misread my ticket to say boarding starts at 12.45pm. It actually said boarding closes at 12.45pm. This left me standing in a slow customs line at 12.50pm wondering if I would ever get this flight. I was thinking about calling Brodie and telling him I couldnt bear to leave and decided to stay longer.
As it turned out, a lady came among the lines calling about something about a British Airways something. I thought Id better check with her, and lo and behold, I was the one she was looking for. She seemed quite relieved and radioed someone further down the line then told me that I was the last one for the plane.
So I passed through customs in the normal way and was greeted by this lady again on the other side who told me to run and took off with me. It looked serious. I bolted. Somewhere down the concourse I lost my gate and stopped, disoriented. Suddenly this lady grabbed me as she ran past saying, This way! Even through the boarding gate I had to run, spurred on by another attendent.
They closed the door as I squeezed through. I wasnt sure if this was the reason, but I was virtually ignored throughout the flight whenever I wanted service.
A Fun Flight
In the section that I was sitting, there were many young Japanese girls who seemed to know each other. As I looked later there were also a number of young guys too. It was not until much later in the flight after I made friends with Mai, one of the young girls, that I discovered that these girls and guys were all on a school excursion to London and then to Paris for Christmas. There were around 150 of them and they took up almost all of the cabin area that I was seated in.
For many of them this was their first ever flight. This became obvious when a chorus of them let out “oohs” and “aahs” when the plane took off and on most of the subsequent bumps in rough air. It made for a fun flight to listen to the wonder in their voices though.
Bank On It
After making the flight, everything went smoothly and I managed to get some sleep after watching Russia disappear into the night. It was while I was sleeping that the fun started actually. I was woken by a low buzz in the cabin among the people. It did not take too long to find out that my side of the aircraft could see the Northern Lights.
This was an amazing sight actually. Bright green lights streaming from the sky towards the ground as though a wall of misty water. It was very pretty, and changing all the time. Not wanting to keep such amazing sights to myself, I called over my new Japanese friend from the centre ailse to see these sights.
Now I am not suggesting that I started it, because it was already happening when I awoke, but once my friend, Mai, saw the sights she exclaimed quite loudly in Japanese. Probably something like, “wow!” At this all of her friends came over to see too, while more were starting to crane their necks to see something from where they were currently sitting.
As Mai and her friends were looking, I managed to take a photo of the lights with a long shaky shutter speed. I showed the photo to some of those who had yet to see the lights. Never did I expect such a response. There was the expected, wow! and then a lot of loud chatter and cries as they told their friends about it, causing a crush as everyone started over to look out the windows.
As this buzz grew, more and more of the Japanese students rose from their seats, and more and more seats on the other side of the aircraft were emptied, while more of the seats on my side of the aircraft had more than their allocated number of passengers. It was a hub of excitement and activity.
The pilots must have been aware that somewhere in the aircraft there had been a shifting of over a tonne of weight from one side to the other of the plane. The leaning of the plane in our direction was not highly noticeable for us as passengers though.
I am sure that around this point the flight attendents, who had been working to maintain some order, realised that their task was doomed to failure. It was just then that I overheard one of them exclaim that they would turn on the seatbelt light to try and restore some order.
After the seatbelt light and some stern commands, the students all eventually returned to their seats. The leaning plane was no longer banking over to our side. The flight attendants had won their battle, and the flight settled into normal boredom level again.
Fjords of Norway
As our plane started to return to the realms of the suns reaches again, we found ourselves over Norway. This amazing place was totally covered in Snow, and every now and then we would pass over a township, lit up like a Christmas tree. The sights were amazing to see, with not a cloud nearby, and I proceeded to take dozens of photographs of the incredible sights; the steep snow covered mountains, the deep rivers that have frozen over, the snaking fjords penetrating deep into the coastline, the rivers of light that joined one town to another. It was a feast for the eyes.
As we came over England, our plane was north of London, but today was special because for our pilot to put our plane into the cue, we had to zig zag all over London. It was amazing to fly over the centre of this huge city at such low heights, and as we turned and ducked and weaved our way into position I took even more photos.
Phew, what a fun flight that was. I got hardly any sleep during that leg, and ended up sleeping almost the entire flight from London to Madrid. I woke only to eat some snacks they were giving out.
And then I landed in Madrid. Next: Destination Europe – Madrid