Martin was rhapsodising on the moon* today and it reminded me of my visit to the Taj Mahal – and then that reminded me of my honeymoon. Sadly, I’m not going to get all smoochy and sentimental on you. It’s made me wonder just how we ever got through that first aeroplane flight.
The Sage isn’t the best traveller. It all started when he and his brother were coming back across the North Sea on a car ferry, many years ago (I suspect it was back in the 50s, when I was a mere slip of a child). There was a storm, the captain of the English ferry refused to sail, the Dutch captain said “Pfft” and sailed – and the Sage and his brother went off for a full English**. They were dreadfully seasick on the way back, the ship nearly sank and the Sage has not travelled without anxiety ever since.
So, 1973. The Sage went to the doctor for some strong (and sedative) anti-sickness pills, for use on the journey from Heathrow to Mahé***.
We flew to Italy and stopped to pick up dinner and some more passengers. I tucked into the food, the Sage dozed. As we flew over North Africa, I was dreadfully excited. There was the Nile!!(!) I could see it, though I could make out nothing else, snaking across the landscape (I’d always rather be by the window than in the sensible aisle seat). I poked the Sage. “Look, look, there’s the Nile!” He grunted and went back to sleep…
I stuck with him. I’m a saint. He really is a bad traveller though, I can’t deny that.
Oh, by the way, we refuelled at Addis Ababa and we all got out and stretched our legs on the runway; the only time I’ve set foot in mainland Africa. There was a crashed plane at the end of the runway. It had been there a few weeks, apparently, although it wasn’t a rare occurrence.
We stopped again in South Africa to pick up more passengers. I’ll never forget**** landing on Mahé. The airport had been built by the shore, out into the water – I’m a gung-ho traveller and it didn’t strike me that it wouldn’t require much overshoot or cross-wind to land in the sea (I’m sure it’s less intimidating now). When we got out, it was instant tropical island. It was fabulous. Steamy, humid, heat with the tang of the sea. No, it’ll be one of the last memories to go.
*for pedants – on the subject of the moon
**that means a cooked breakfast, other-than-British darlings
***Main island of the Seychelles
****well, there’s always Alzheimer’s. Perhaps I shouldn’t say that I’ll never forget anything.