Journal 61: Touchdown in Malaysia Part One

FlightPhoto (12)

Saudi Arabia doesn’t need suicide bombers or crazed, Jihadist pilots.  They’d do better to pleat a militia of baggage handlers to do their destructive deeds for them.

After seeing the warzone of luggage pieces and baggage parts, I realized that this throng of thoughtless throwers were well equipped to lead multitudes of extremists into victory.  After a while I started to wonder why the handlers even decided to put all the broken wheels, ripped handles and crushed boxes onto the conveyor belt in the first place.

But as I saw more and more of them appear on the belt, I began to fear that my precious camera gear might have befallen the same fate.

As I waited in nervous anticipation to see my crates arrive from the bowels of this tote-grinding contraption, I thought about the horrendous landing that I and my neighboring passengers had just endured.

Honestly, I think that it must have been the worst landing on record for me.  About five years ago, I was on a plane from Mexico City to Lima, Peru, and the in-flight drama was the scary part.  The plane must have hit pockets of extreme pressure changes.  We felt the entire aircraft drop repeatedly to what felt like 10 feet at a time.  And when it was all over and we landed, I recall thinking back to the thoughts that passed during the flight.  I had basically started looking back over my life with thanks to the universe for a fun but short life and prepared myself for the wave of emotions that would hit me as that plane dropped from the sky.

The landing of this particular flight brought me back to thinking of how thankful I was for my experiences.  And the irony was profound, since touching down in Malaysia would represent the very last time I’d need to be in a plane for my next year of exploits in this amazing country.  But as overhead bins and luggage dropped down all over the plane, and the wings rocked back and forth so far that I thought they might scrape the tarmac, I began to realize that going out in a giant fireball might just be the ironic end I’d likely prefer.

Nevertheless, I made it.  I am writing this blog, so it’s obvious that the irony was at least appreciable and I will live to write another day.

But when things started dropping down out of the overhead compartments, I was actually more worried about my very heavy, very valuable camera bag falling out and crashing onto the deck.  In fact, I actually ran through the action in my head a couple times.  And I kept preferring the option where the camera bag’s fall was broken by some poor bastard’s noggin in the next row over.  I didn’t wish any ill on anyone.  But we’re talking about $12,000 worth of optics and bodies.

Thankfully, my bin was among the lucky few that remained closed until we exited the plane.  And upon satisfactory preliminary assessment of my crates, it was off to meet my limo and start a new chapter of my life back in Southeast Asia.


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