We suggest you do not board this airplane* - Leon Logothetis

April 7, 2011

We suggest you do not board this airplane*

*it has a hole in the wing

Most of us take arriving at our destination safely for granted. We have a reliable car parked in the driveway; we get on safety conscious airlines or hop onto high speed trains. Often this form of travel is exceedingly boring, lacks excitement and the ‘OMG! I am going to die’ factor… The obvious benefits of ‘safety first’ travel are that you will almost certainly reach your destination in one piece; but where’s the sense of adventure in that?

There isn’t any…

On the other hand if you take a few calculated risks (or some uncalculated ones) and stray off the well trodden path you can have an adventure even before you get to your destination: If you get there at all! Some of you may be thinking you don’t want to embark on such frivolous adventure, you just want to get to your destination: alive. I understand this philosophy. I really do.  However, sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind and see what God has in store for you…

But beware. Sometimes God is in a good mood. Sometimes he isn’t.

I once made the horrible mistake of flying on an internal Mongolian flight from the capital Ulaanbaatar to a ramshackle town in the heart of the Gobi desert. The plane was falling apart, literally. There was a hole in the wing. Yes, you heard correctly. A hole in the wing. I spent the entire 2.5 hour journey praying. I am not usually the praying type. On that day I prayed. Hard.

When we finally landed I bolted off the plane and kissed the sandy desert ground. I was overjoyed. To be alive. I probably should have perished along with everyone else on board. On that day God was in a good mood

Whilst in a Calcutta taxi I had a gnawing feeling that my driver ‘Uday’ was driving a tad too fast. Oh maybe 80 miles an hour too fast! My premonition of impending doom became reality when my new friend swerved manically to bypass a stray pedestrian (Calcutta is filled with pesky stray pedestrians) and in turn lost complete control of his cab. We spun out of control and I found myself hurtling towards what I felt certain was our imminent death: a stationary fuel truck.

A fiery end awaited us both as we prepared to smash head first into the truck. Luckily for me, Uday and the local news crews who would have to cover the gruesome demise of the ‘English tourist consumed in a ball of flames’ we were spared death. But only just. Uday had evaded our inevitable incineration with a Bruce Lee style maneuver. When I regained my senses I thanked him for nearly killing me and departed the scene. He didn’t get a tip. On that Day God wasn’t sure what side of the bed to wake up on…

My final escapade involved a camel. I was in the deserts of Dubai and made an awful decision to try out an ancient form of transport. It sounded like a good idea. It was not. Unfortunately the camel I chose to ride was having an episode. The mental kind… He bolted from the group and wouldn’t stop. He kept going for 10 minutes towards the setting sun and the vastness of the bleak and cold desert. By the time he stopped my manhood was seriously in need of a respite…My pride was in tatters and my humiliation complete when I fell off the stationary camel trying to escape. On that day God was having a laugh. At my expense.

Leon Logothetis

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