Friday, September 26, 2008

Hello from Detroit, Amsterdam, and Athens...

ORIGINAL POST: 16 Jan 2008

To keep things straight, I think I'll post this in sections so I can write on the plane as I go... lets see how this turns out...


I can see why people devote their lives to flight. My cousin being one of them… his father, too, for that matter. I’ve now flown over a dozen times in my lifetime and I don’t think I’ve ever had a “boring” flight. Whether it is about the people I’m with or the things I see.

Thank goodness the excitement is not because I got airsick anymore. Dramamine free is the way to be!!

For instance, my flight from Birmingham, AL, to Detroit today was fascinating. Why? Because I flew over my hometown.

(The dark bands come from scratches in the window's glass... not MY glass!)

It is something quite different to see it in real life instead of Google Earth. It kinda looks the same, but there is something more romantic about it when viewed from 30,000 feet.

At the moment this picture was taken, my parents were on a road driving back from dropping me off at the airport and telling me goodbye for a whole semester. At my house (which is actually visible in the enlargement of this picture) my cat – seen in the previous post – is asleep in the warmth of the midday winter sun.

A very short time later, we fly over Murfreesboro, TN, where my extended family lives. (My family is going to ask... so I pointed an arrow at Murfreesboro airport for reference. Shelbyville highway runs from the center of the frame to the bottom right.)

Captured within this frame somewhere, my grandfather is recovering from a stroke – just days earlier. My family is changing their everyday lives to accommodate this (potentially) life-changing event.

There may be millions and millions of people captured within this single frame. Everything they own. Everyone they know and love.

For some, this is a routine experience. As I write this, half the passengers on this plane are asleep. Some people you can figure out pretty fast… this may be boring and old to them by now.

The Asian man across the isle from me seems to be tired, but definitely enjoying himself.

He may be like me. He’s done it so much, but there is still something romantic about the whole event. He nodded off…

By now, we are flying over the heavily snowed areas and are actually beginning to decend and the fasten seatbelt sign came on JUST as I really really have to use the “lavatory”. This is going to be a very serious test of “mind over bladder”.

Detroit was uneventful… except for the tunnel of trippy goodness. Crazy mood music and lights to go with it as you ride the moving sidewalks.

Oh, and the escalators are immense...

That is all.


DEPARTED DTW @ 5:40 EST to AMS (Amsterdam)

Northwest Airlines flight 0068 on an Airbus A330

Current conditions:
Ground speed: 636mph
Altitude: 38,166 feet
Outside air temp: -72
Local time at destination: 04:23
Tail wind speed: 106mph
Estimated time of arrival: 07:13

I think this may be as close to space as I’ll ever be. Outside is completely black. There are vague points of light in the sky out my window. But if I press my face to it and shield my eyes, the stars are brilliant... "brilliant" does not do it justice

I’m looking out onto the middle of the left wing.

This was my view shortly after takeoff:

I’m sitting beside a man on his way back to Nairobi after only one week in the states. He is a missionary with three sons – one is actually a photojournalist who follows missionaries in Africa and reports back to a magazine.

We had the standard mystery meat meal. I had two cups of coffee… which I am now regretting… and has lead me to being awake an exorbitant amount of time.

I watched “3:10 to Yuma” on our little screens in the backs of the seats.

Now mine is cycling the flight data in 4 languages and in both metric and English units.

I am completely incapable of sleeping.

It may be because the man directly behind me and the man one row back and two seats down are both snoring in sort of an odd rhythm with each other. No just the regular snoring… the growling kind that kinda makes my seat jiggle more than the huge jet turbine 25 feet away to my left.

The red blinking running light illuminates the wing outside my window.

I’ve taken well over half of my first of 8 2GB SD cards I brought along. The first thing I’ll be doing is dumping it onto my computer and the ruggedized LaCie hard drive I brought along to backup ALL my photos.

I think the guy snoring behind me just swallowed his uvula.

75% left on the ol’ laptop battery. I’m using it sparingly to write a few things as I have a moment.

Oh, the airport was rather uneventful. Just an airport.

Sorry this is getting long. Next up: Amsterdam to Athens on a little jet.

Wow… I wish I could sleep…


DEPARTED AMS @ 9:55 (delayed 30 minutes) for ATHENS, GREECE

At long last I was able to sleep for a few minutes at a time. And I seem to not be affected by airsickness… there were a few who had trouble during some turbulence caused by fast-moving updrafts from the Alps – or so said our bi-lingual pilot.

Amsterdam was a rather quick stop, by the way. For some reason we had to check BACK through all the x-ray scanners (much to my loaded Leica’s chagrin – which they would not let me not send the camera through) and arrived in a hurry to gate C18… to find our flight delayed 30 minutes.


So, we landed, got our luggage, and was bussed to our final location in Porto Rafti, Greece. It is a suburb of Athens, west by southwest, out on the coast.

We took a sort of walking tour of the grounds and the surrounding area all the way out to the bay where there were fishing boats moored and little old couples taking an afternoon stroll on the boardwalk.

This is Mr. Mahan, the man who manages the Greece program for my college. Our compound is in the background.

This is down the street from our campus. This is small-town Greece at its finest.


And that is the past two days that - because of the time zones - only lasted about 36. I'm still awake. Haven't slept. But I will now.

That last picture was taken just before sunset... around 6:00. Its 8:21 now. Oh my...

More soon. But not now. Sleep now. Goodnight.
~Noah D.

No comments: