Memories of Flying in Cuba

Off to Cuba in 1999.  Flew one day late due to engine problems. Should of seen it as a sign. Arrived in Havana and mooched around. For me it was a delight. For the locals a nightmare stuck in time. Remember one shop, a chemists, with only vinegar for sale.

Onwards and another flight. Driven out to an airport that an Estate Agent/Realtor would call ‘’well lived in.’’ There was a plane, shiny and modern. A list of names tramped out and boarded the gleam machine. I waited. Next airplane. Older but relatively new and smaller. Another list, but not for me. Then I spied a relic being towed to  museum or knackers yard. No, wait a minute, it’s stopping. It stopped outside the departure lounge. Departure seemed to take on a new meaning. Everyone left was beckoned onto the relic. An ancient Antonov, probably from the 1950s love festival between Castro and the U.S.S.R.

As we approached the Wright brothers reject an engineer was tapping the nose cone with a mallet. Nervous laughter. On we climbed. The seats gently in their brackets and Russian accompanied Spanish instructions. Gunning the engine outrageously, the pilot got us airborne.

As we straightened out the cabin began to fill with smoke. The steward ran up the aisle to assure us it was harmless and from the old air conditioning  system. More nervous laughter, and a large rum, please. As I sat in the window seat I decided to watch and pray. Then to my dismay a flame shot back out of the engine. A couple of people said, ooh and one person screamed. The steward tried allay our fears by stating that on these engines, ‘’it was normal.’’ He needed to try harder. Well we landed and it was time for a large rum..Return flight to Havana was at night, in a thunderstorm on the same aircraft. It was a very, very quite flight.

Baggage Allowance

images

Whitby bound soon. Flying to Newcastle, and later out of Leeds, with Ryanair. Some wags say that is the best thing to do with Leeds. Fly out.

The luggage allowance is so low with Ryanair that I can only pack my emotional luggage. Could still be tricky! Must check how many pairs of socks I can fit on my feet?

Memories of Mount Bromo

We arrived late at our accomodation. It had been a long bumpy ride in a truly old jalopy. Some call it romantic, others called it uncomfortable. The room was basic, but we would only be there a short while. If memory serves me correctly we rose at around 3am. Even the roosters were snoozing still.The last time I had got up so early was when I was born.

In a comatosed state we shuffled to our guide and were led off sheep like into the murkiness. Dark and cold, what was I doing? Where was my ratty bed? We ascended for a short while and came to the valley floor. The braying of donkeys came out of the mist. I decide to walk as did my partner, but her sister had a terrible disease. Born bone-idle, bless her. She mounted one of these small animals with her feet almost dragging along the floor. We trudged onwards through the mist and gloom. Why am I here?

Our sojourn finished at the base of a steep set of timber steps. Just in case we felt in need of civilization, reminders of it were left in the form of plastic bottles, cans and other advanced detrius near the steps. The donkey was unburdened from its not insubstantial load and all three  of us made our way upwards. The donkey had seen the show before.

At the top we stopped to take in the view of the volcano and breath deep the fumes. Not distasteful after a life time of Mother’s cooking. This was more like it! Then someone shouted and we all turned in near seeming unison. The sun was rising. A huge golden, yellow orb of power and light ascended the farthest horizon. Spilling light across the plain as it rose. One of the most fantastic sights I had ever witnessed was taking place before my eyes.

ahh, that was why I was there!! Magnificent and I carry the polaroid like snapshots in my mind for evermore. Truly breathtaking. Now where was that poor donkey?

Travel and Pollution

Ripping the skies

IMG_0675

We travel. We like to go places. I like to travel. Travel broadens the mind. We like to travel to many places. Most people travel by air. Flying further and further in search of the exotic or simply a week in the sun. This coupled to an increase in the number of people travelling is a cause of pollution. Flying is the number one culprit. Estimates state that around 13-15 percent of greenhouse gases in the UK are generated by aircraft.

As we speak, the Arctic is rapidly moving towards an ice-free scenario. The upshot will be the increase in plumes of greenhouse gases, which will warm the planet even more. Our protection, the Arctic Ice, which has  shielded us from climate extremes is rapidly disappearing. Predictions state that 2016 will be the hottest year ever since records began.

We are like a smoker with a hacking cough who simply cannot quit. We are addicted to our own demise. Technologically there is no airborne revolution that will change this situation. Certainly not one which will comply with the number one directive. Namely to make money.

This is something we must take into account when planning our travels. For as we travel, we are killing that which nurtures us all, our planet. It is time to look beyond our own noses. But will we?

Whitby Goth Preparations

GettyImages-458278952

As  posted earlier, in late October we are off to Whitby. ‘’Where is Whitby, exacxtly’’ asked my lovely wife.

I replied ‘’Coordinates: 54°29′09″N 0°37′14″W / 54.4858°N 0.6206°W / 54.4858; -0.6206.’’

She smiles by way of reply.

Whitby is a small coastal settlement in Yorkshire, just up t’ road from Scarborough.  Picturesque cottages have been redefined as lovely from their former status as ‘mean’ hovels for the lower classes to live in. Picturesque it is, cold it certainly can be! Along the coast another worthwhile place to visit is Robin Hoods Bay. But this is Yorkshire I hear you exclaim, go on, exclaim. Better? Good. Well in fact, as much as we can glean from history, Robin was a Yorkshire man. Which explains a few things!

group

Anyway, Whitby is going to host a Goth rock music and general dressing up weekend to tie in with Halloween.Should be nifty. Wife planning clothing. What do I go as? Anyway, simply have to fly into one airport, hire a car, drive on the wrong side of t’ road, with steering wheel on wrong side of car, at night. Party and parade whilst trying to stay warm, go to the gig, drive back in t’ dark to another airport. Pay extra for the privilege and all in one weekend. Not so dusty.

(t’ = the).

I haven’t told anyone yet, but they must learn the words to the following song before being allowed to leave Yorkshire. A one, a two, a one two….

Wheear ‘ast tha bin sin’ ah saw thee, ah saw thee?

On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at

Wheear ‘ast tha bin sin’ ah saw thee, ah saw thee?

Wheear ‘ast tha bin sin’ ah saw thee?

On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at

On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at

On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at

Tha’s been a cooartin’ Mary Jane

Tha’s bahn’ to catch thy deeath o’ cowd

Then us’ll ha’ to bury thee

Then t’worms’ll come an’ eyt thee up

Then t’ducks’ll come an’ eyt up t’worms

Then us’ll go an’ eyt up t’ducks

Then us’ll all ha’ etten thee

That’s wheear we get us ooan back

 

I foresee no foreseeable problems.