Air Pacific flight FJ 811, 38,000 feet above the South Pacific
I don't know what the date is. Is it yesterday or tomorrow? It isn't today.
I there anything in the world more uncomfortable than sleeping in an airplane seat?
On the other hand, I did do some sleeping, which I usually don't do on airplanes. Usually I sit and stare and get crabbier and crabbier. I've done several SFO - Heathrow flights that way and I can't say I recommend it. But leaving at 11:30 pm PDT helped, as did one glass of wine, and I slept for a good five hours, if a broken, uncomfortable sleep. Not a full flight, which helps, we had some elbow room.
Goodbye USA. Hello unknown.
I usually have a pretty clear idea where I'm going when I go. But some places it's hard to get a feel for. Europe, hell, go watch Rick Steeves on PBS, you know what you're getting. But odd, off-the-beaten-path destinations can be harder to figure. Providenciales, Turks and Caicos was like that. Little island of low scrub-land and salt beds populated by people from many places, but it has some of the world's best beaches and spectacular diving. We really didn't have a clear idea what the island was like at all, despite research.
Fiji's better known, sure, but still, I'm unsure what to expect. I've seen virtually no pictures of the island we're going to (Vanua Levu), which is not a population or industry center, but is a growing resort destination. I know what the resort looks like from brochure pictures, but no clue about the nearby town, Savu-Savu. I don't know if it's a charming village or a third-world hell-hole.
What I do know is that the diving will kick ass. That's what we're going for. Diving, which is one of my true passions in life. I'll have to write a later entry on scuba, how I started and what I get from it. The resort has a great rep, I've talked to two people who've stayed there, so I have some positive expectations there. And -- well, it's the Jean Michel Cousteau resort, so you kind of expect they'll know a thing or three about diving. I mean, what better name is there, right?
We're flying into the main Fiji hub, Nadi (nan-DI) airport on Viti Levu, We have a long stopover there, so may park at an airport hotel for a half day to rest and recover. Again, no idea what to expect there. If we're lucky we'll be able to hop the early puddle-jumper to Vanua Levu, but otherwise we get to spend a half day in Nadi. Which I would like to say means sleep, but more likely means shopping.
It will be 5 am Fiji time when we get to Nadi -- I've already lost track of what that is US time. I re-set my watch to fiji when we got on the plane; that's how I do this, mentally go native as soon as possible. Checking the US time on my laptop though, I guess that's around 10am back home.
We lost a day though. One has to wonder where it went. We left Tuesday night and arrive Thursday morning. Where's wednesday? Damned date line. The only date line I'm interested in is the one with the hot women waiting for my call at $2 a minute.
It's a strange thing flying through the dark sky over a dark ocean. Kate Bush wrote some song about death over water, the stuff of her nightmares. I can't find the damned lyrics to quote. For me it's just strange, like I'm not really going anywhere since I can't look down and see it passing. Even stranger is to realize how deep that ocean is down there. Miles in some places I may have flown over tonight. Unknown, mysterious depths. I want to see what's down there. Down deep, deep in the black, in the 'inky depths' (Which I hear in Jaque Cousteau's voice). I hear the deep callling me.
Next stop, Fiji.