For what it’s worth, I’m in a strange daze. I don’t know how to feel. I’m seated right in the middle at E21 writing this while waiting for my plane to take off.
Weary and restless passengers filled the seat while the ones beside me fidget around momentarily while kids blabber at the sight of the gigantic winged vehicle.
I wondered when would the caffeine kick in, or if my relapse of depression dulled this trip down. I'm so out of sort and I felt a little dead inside. Maybe I have to dig deeper, then I'll know what to do, my fiery passion would melt all these ice. I’m still excited to meet Xiang of course. It'll be the first time travelling over to hangout with him and I can't wait for what might unfold. But back at home I'm just getting my life back together on track, hitting my 10km runs and trying to be productive again. My soul’s still asleep, I'm not living.
The plane maneuvered skillfully to the runway and I'm still writing, and being aware. The cool air chilled the face of my hand, as if soothing and calming my raging spirit.
Our plane jerked bumpily across the runway as the cabin crew paced around, darting their heads making sure we all have our seat belts on. The indistinctive chatters went on, in multiple languages. I could catch on a bit of Thai, Mandarin and Japanese.
I tried closing my eyes but my heart was knocking against my chest as if keeping me awake. It must be the caffeine working its way through my heart now. I peered and started reading the flight magazines and started flipping it anyway, looking at things that I won't buy, keeping myself busy with the colors and photos as if waiting for something to happen. It reminds me of how people nonchalantly scroll through their social feeds now.
I checked if they have changed the design of their puke bags. Yes, as strange as it sounds I collect puke bags from different airlines. For what use, I'm not sure. But maybe I'll like to have it for my art project. My mind wandered across the things that I could do with the puke bag. Decorating it on a board, pinning it with my boarding passes and my travel trinkets and the list goes on. My mind wonders again and the voices joined amongst the chatter, the little things that mattered and things that shouldn’t.
And... We are clear, my heart beats exhilarate upon its first wave of acceleration. The engine roared to life and as I peered out of the window, raindrops pelted teasingly against the window, the aircraft oblivious to them.
My heart felt alive again, as the engine roared triumphantly again, this time gaining velocity as it picked up speed and ran across the asphalt towards the horizon. The chatters, drowned out, the voices went quiet as I looked in awe through the windows as the lush greenies turn into blur. The raindrops now traced across the windows like tiny tracks and my heartbeat joined harmoniously with the symphony.
We are up in the air. I felt it’s wheel kicking us off as we hover up into the altitude. Buildings become smaller, the roads looked like stripes of paper from above. The trees looked like looming green carpets. The cloud flashed passed in streaks of white. I swallowed a bit of saliva and felt the familiar crisp in my ears. The sound of a candy wrapper getting crushed, of our ears reacting to the rising altitude.
We went higher, and we broke through the rain clouds. Within minutes, the speed dried up the window. My eyes looked at the clouds again, and now it reminds me of people. I can't possibly remember all the clouds, yet they all look like the same thing, yet each of them have an air of freshness around them. I could never get bored of the clouds.
Maybe the clouds haven't tamed me, so each and everyone of them looked the same. Maybe I haven't find meaning in them. But the vibrant hues of monotonic white are so soothing to watch. Very soothing. The cloud brings about so much memories. One of them was how I used to enjoy laying on a hammock at Zheng Hua Park while my younger brother cycled and climbed around the playground in the vicinity.
The beep came, and like clockwork, people started moving and getting out of their seats. Like restless children. Sounds of seatbelts unclipping, people started to rampage through their trunk, doing anything but stay still. And some of them probably drifted into slumber with the clouds.
I gazed dreamily and started to watch the cloud paint the skies, only to find my dream ended abruptly as the lady on my right shoved the window down before going back into her slumber. I looked away in annoyance as if trying to hide my momentarily anger. Not as if she could tell as she had her head pasted against the edge of the aircraft. I dimmed my screen for extra measure and continue to people watch.
Seats are being plowed down inconsiderately at random as people goes to sleep. The aroma of grilled chicken scented the plane as the food are being served for those who placed an order. My nose picked up the familiar tinge of pepper but my stomach is unmoved since I just got food.
I could felt my gut lunged as the plane dip, as if dodging imaginary obstacles, the crisp getting louder as I swallow another saliva. I observed though the gaps and noticed a young boy tapping furiously on his phone. How times are different now. The technological age really made parenting easy and lazy at the same time. I got back to writing and began to skim and started editing more photos for my Behance portfolio.
Just when I thought things are getting to normal the plane jerked and dropped for a millisecond. I could felt as if we are flying on free fall like a derailed rollercoaster. Passengers flew off their seat and my butt as off mine too as I watched in perverse amusement at the slight seconds. Shrieks and profanities filled the aircraft and a lady screamed ”Oh my God” at the top of her voice at B21 across me while her hands are patting her heart down.
The lady beside me woke up in surprise and pushed the window open. We looked at each other and we laughed while we looked out as if we would know what caused it. It might have been a bird who flew into the engine. And she went back into slumber while I'm glad the window is open now. My mind replayed the moment several times again and I smiled to myself. I might have quite a sick humor so don't mind me. Part of me was afraid yet another part wondered if I'm truly unafraid of death. Maybe the odds and logic made me trust the aircraft itself. Maybe I'm pretty used to the turbulence.
Trolleys were being pushed out after awhile, with cabin crews tempting us with snacks and beverages. My eye brows raised with suspicion when the passenger in front of me caved and ordered a $4 orange juice. The plane continue to jolt awhile its wings flew violently against the wind. And we are stable again.
I wondered if its possible to jolt down a 2 hours flight log and I went back to doing work again. I started working on my travel photography where my mind wandered across the million things on my mind, the travelogs, the adventures, my businesses, and how they can come together. I definitely love coming back with stories to tell.
The pilot announced the call for landing and I stared out of the window panel again. This time we are beneath the clouds. I could clearly see the anatomy of Vietnam now, the seas funnel down into the river that cuts across the vast land.
I cursed at my disability to take more photos as I’m seated in the middle. And I probably have got no choice but allow my eyes to take in the view as much as possible. Looking at how the beauty of the land stretched out reminds me of the beauty of Pu Chi Fa. Which I hope I’ll be able to tell her story soon.
The sides of the flaps raised up as the plane tilt as they drift across the skies, this time the sun creep through the window and we are up in the clouds again. As if a careful ballerina, the plane tilt at a precise angle again, this time getting ready to decent. The flaps closed as the plane danced, like a careful child walking across a beam in the playground, with her arms stretched out, keeping careful balance.
Coming down in a careful descend, the engine roared as if fighting against the wind, this time the lands cuts out further into the horizon as we are not above anymore. Roofs are visible as the details takes shape on the land. The land stretched into the clouds as we descend. We fell into free fall again as I heard children laugh in glee, unable to understand this “elevator fall”.
Skyscrapers stood upright like KitKat bars on a Christmas log cakes as we patrol across the skies, and the announcement came on to remind passengers to have their seatbelts on. The flaps now tucked down as the plane goes into descend, and we are only right above the buildings now. And like déjà vu the greens and white goes into a blur before the wheels touched the ground. The front flaps came up as the planes goes into a slow halt as the kids in front shouted a prolonged “Ah” childishly as the jerk of the aircraft wobble their voices.
And we are safely down.
The planes driving onto the runway while the announcement calls to mark our safety with their final thanks as the plane drive on lazily into the designated parking space, and there she’ll rest until the next flight.
And from here on, my adventure in Vietnam begins, as I’ll venture deeper, exploring the city of Ho Chi Minh.
How would she be like?
What food does she offer?
Where are the hidden gems?
I’ll seek to answer all these question throughout my journey here. But before I go, I’ll pray that we get a good lot so I can pop right into the airport without having to squeeze myself in the airbus.