Friday, November 25, 2005

Travelog II - Turbulence

My flight got off on time at 2 am.

I usually never miss the chance to see Beirut in all it's city-light glory as the plane flies just off the coast, but the turbulence and low clouds had me staring forward this time.

Leveling off, I unbuckled my belt and looked around the cabin. And sure enough they were there.

Who am I talking about? You see, any flight leaving Lebanon is guaranteed to have at least one of the following on board:

1) A disenchanted Lebanese immigrant returning from what he/she thought was a trip of a lifetime to an idyllic country that exists only in imagination and disappointed that it turned out to be a real place with real problems

2) A man who spares no opportunity to tell anyone who is willing to listen about the great job they are traveling for, describing it as something much more prestigious and exciting than it truly is

3) Someone who thinks that their previous few experiences on a plane qualifies them to critique the pilot's flight skills like an FAA supervisor

4) A woman who despite the gruelling experience of long flights and cramped conditions still finds it necessary to apply full make-up and wear high-heeled shoes

The list is long...

Charles Ta Gueule

At any rate, I finally landed in Paris at 6 AM.

Drowsy and waiting for my security clearance, I had a chance to capture dawn break.

Charles De Gualle Airport in my opinion can best be described as the burrows of an ant colony on acid. It is everything a modern airport should not be. And what got to me the most was not the heavy-handed screening the USA enforces on it's inbound flights as much as the fact that the French officers seem to enjoy it. You should have seen the look on the face of the guy swabbing my carry-on with the chemical detection gauze, he was like a kid in a toy store on Christmas. "Damn it, this guy is clean" I got almost hear him think. He should've hung around though, because another officer found it fitting that I disembowel that same carry-on over a table a few meters from the plane door, standing shoeless in a chilling tunnel and in plain view of everyone boarding the plane.

I don't think that the rappers noticed. Didn't I mention those? While waiting at the gate I noticed a horde of rap artists straight out of an MTV Snoop video waiting in line. It was hard not to notice as they were loud in speech and clothing. One had a jeweled hood ornament as big as my palm piercing his ear. Very "bling bling". I rolled my eyes and pitied the hapless soul stuck next to them on a transatlantic flight. That turned out to be yours truly. If I had a guardian angel that day she must have had PMS. The next 8 hours or so were a blur of "Under the Tuscan sun" and mini-naps, punctuated by "Yo I ain't seen your s---, so shut the f--- up, b----!"

To be continued...


Blogger Eve said...

I nearly got myself arrested in Charles DE GAULE Airport :) My mom had insisted that I should pack some Persil/Arial to do my laundry. They looked at it, sniffed it and asked: "drugs?"

9:36 AM, November 25, 2005  
Blogger raf* said...


you lucky bastard didn't even have to use the "facilities" at CDG ...

i envy you having sat next to the hiphop-homies ... i'd've loved chillin' with them ... just think of the possibilities for interesting conversations:

me/you: so, where you from?
blingbling: (some shitty midwestern town), bro! 'n you???
me/you: uhhh ... beirut. you know ... when you turn on t.v. & you see shit blowing up - right around the corner from THERE.
blingbling: dude ... you an islamic or sumtin?
me/you: bro, some of my homies go "foreigner hunting" every friday - one of them had to move into a bigger house 'cause his old one wouldn't fit all the hostages he kidnapped ...

funfunfun ...


7:46 PM, November 25, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really enjoying your Travelog, though i'm sorry to hear about your misfortune.. I do hope the rest of the trip went smoother.. Did you enjoy 'under the tuscan sun'? It's a lighthearted movie, something you sometimes need on a long flight...


1:42 AM, November 27, 2005  
Blogger Xylocaine said...

Anything with Diane Lane in it is worth watching;)...though it's one of those movies you had to be dragged by gf to watch....i'm enjoying your travel blog Bros... holler when you can.
good luck on csa

12:18 PM, November 27, 2005  
Blogger desmond said...

You forgot that one guy who jumps up, ignores attendants shouts to sit down, drags his luggage out of the overhead bin and runs as fast as he can to the front of the plane before it has even stopped in an effort to be the first one off. He's been on every single flight I've ever taken.
Happy trails.

12:22 PM, November 27, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention babies. I hate noisy babies. Why do people have to take them in the plane? Can't they send them through DHL?

Last year, a European company thought of creating 'no-babies' flight. Unfortunately, there was legal problems (some babies wanted to sue the company perhaps :). Isn't that a great idea?

I am an equal opportunity man when it comes to babies. Whether you're a black, yellow, Muslim, Taoist, leftist or nazi baybe, you're equally noisy to me.

5:34 PM, November 27, 2005  
Blogger Ramzi said...

They thought it was drugs?! What idiots... everybody knows drugs go in the make-up kit!

If I had said that I'd be making a sharp little u-turn and blogging from Beirut by now (or maybe Guantanamo?)

Oh I agree it is a nice movie. But watching it on that flight was like taking school kids on a field trip to a maximum security prison...

Thanks buddy, CSA is in Atlanta now and a week later.
We would have had so much fun had you been here...

Errr.... yeah. I never do that. Kind of. Well almost.

Argh babies are the worst!
I almost considered bringing some sedatives along and mixing it in with the milk bottle when mom's in the restroom...

9:19 AM, November 29, 2005  

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