Friday, December 18, 2009

Flying over Pakistan

October 15th

It’s 4am England time and I am flying over the surface of the moon – or insert strange barren planet – also known as Pakistan. I see sand, rock, and hard packed ground that may have had water there once. That last sentence makes me think about how NASA bombed the moon to see if there was any ice locked beneath the rock.

Now, layers of mountain ranges that go on forever emerge from mist. I think I can make out a town because there are little house-shaped mounds forming a square. But it might just as easily be the result of erosion. Now I see the patchwork of agriculture, except everything is still brown. There is one ridge that looks like a giant iguana lying flat out in the sun. The cracks in the earth make shapes like barren tree branches, and there are long curving ridges that stretch to the horizon. The last few are sand dunes that give way to a great flat expanse patterned like alligator hide.

Forgive me for using a thousand words instead of a picture. My camera is in my bag at my feet, which I can’t get to since the seat tray is down, and the flight attendants take an hour to clear away food. Today’s fare is airline food at its worst: a gherkin, cheese, tomato and cucumber sandwich. It tastes vaguely like tuna fish. I eat half anyway (I really will eat just about anything). The dinner, served last night from 11 to 12am, as if that makes any sense, was a delicious curry, rice and lentil dish that made my throat and now persistent cough feel much better.

The TV screen in front of me doesn’t work. But, despite my Indian friend’s predictions of doom-by-Air India, the plane ride still isn’t a bad deal for the price. Then again, I still don’t know whether or not they’ve lost my luggage.

It occurs to me, as I look out the window, that if humans can survive in this landscape, colonizing other planets really shouldn’t be a problem.

1 comment:

Pocketmouse said...

Wow I didn't know Air India could fly over Pakistan.
that's kind of neat...though I'm not sure if India or Pakistan is taking the risk with that arrangement. :P

I still stand by my opinion of Air India.

Both of us flew it and we lived to tell our tale.