NOTES ON A PLANE- Guest Blogger- RICH R.
ED NOTE: This is the first part of a series on Rich R.’s trip to the African Continent
Time to destination: 6 hours 28 minutes
Here I sit hours before putting my feet on African soil – probably the first time for anyone of my Italian immigrant lineage. Who knows?
The flight from Cleveland to New York was smooth and fast! Met a kid (23 year old) who sat next to me. He turns, greets me. I am shocked a younger person actually acknowledge the ‘older person’ that I am. He was 23 years old – looking unkempt and like he had a rough night.
He introduced himself without a name… just saying he was from Slovakia, a student at a university majoring in some type of engineering, hoping to get rid of plastic bottles (as he drank out of one) and laughed. He had been working at none other than Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio for the summer. This was his 3rd summer there working. And, with a smile, he finally got out of laundry and into McDonalds. It was a proud smile that he had when he made that comment. Amazing what we scoff at while others are so proud of things like this as an accomplishment.
Him? I will call him Slovakia for no purpose other than not knowing his given name. He spoke with a strong accent and at times it was very difficult to understand. The gist of his summer seemed to be ….party, party, drink beer, and more partying. Sitting there listening, I was not sure I wanted to be that age again!
Slovakia said he did not sleep at all last night – worked a 10 hour day and partied all night and quickly threw his backpack together to leave for home and university to begin on Monday. This was Thursday!
A few times, he did say ‘those 16-year olds sure know how to party!” With that, his face went blank and gave the gaze of someone twice his age ..wondering why they act like that.
Our plane landed about 20 minutes early so we had to unload at another gate on the opposite side of JFK Airport – far, far away from the international flight area. Gate 29 …that’s where I was …my next plane toward Cape Town, South Africa? Gate 8, in a completely other building! My frustrations were building already. Luckily I did not have to get all of my luggage and haul it there.
I stumbled my way through the airport – passing all sorts of food venues – around the corner, to the left, follow the arrows! To the right – up another ramp – only to look down a long narrow hallway with miniature people at the other end. I kept forging on to get there….oh, oh – seat belts … turbulence at 35,000 even to where the flight assistants had to sit down. A bit bumpy, good thing I had my coffee earlier! TO BE CONTINUED…………..