Thursday, December 13, 2007

Attempting to exercise my long-neglected linguistic abilities

While all my photographic equipment (10 lenses and 2 SLR bodies *hides face*) are with my brother

I had just cleared passport control. Fancy backlit shelves filled with tax-free alcohol, cigarettes, perfume and power-plug adapters clamoured for attention. Modern, groovy music leaked from the neon-lit doorway of a record store while across the mall, an employee in the Starbucks stood with a bored look.

Most travellers hustled on, ignoring the merchandise, their trolley bags’ wheels rattling and rumbling, the ladies’ high heels ticking on the tiled floor. Which was uncharacteristic in an airport; most areas in the airside of aerodromes are layered with carpet so thick and dense you could feel the gooey silence after the carpet soaks up all superfluous noises.

I had an hour before the flight was scheduled to depart. Deeming it wise to take a Brownian/Markovian random-walk instead of starting on my books, I wandered around looking at the pre-tax price of hard liqueur and staring absently at turbojet engines wind-milling lazily on idle.

I walked down a passageway between two overpriced retail outlets, turned a corner and was greeted by an empty boarding lounge. This was Gate 1, conveniently tucked away from the contrasting lights, chattering travellers and endless footfalls. In the lounge were rows and rows of seats, enough to hold the hundreds waiting to board a Boeing 747-400, all of them empty.

Making my way to the furthest end of the lounge where it was the quietest and where I could watch the door, I opened my book. In many ways, it was a classic text- The Classical Theory of Fields, by the noted physicist Lev Landau. As a photocopied classic text, it was also a copyright infringement.


Emirates Airlines was a completely different experience from the likes of Malaysian Airlines. For one, the food was actually enjoyable, not borderline edible. Well only the appetisers, side dishes and desserts; the main course, as in most in-flight meals, has the consistency of an over-steamed bowl of leftovers.

The entertainment system has a touch-screen system- passengers can jab at the monitor to command it to start showing Ratatoulle or play the 1988 UK chart toppers. Amazingly, the music albums had UK top singles listed in chronological order from 1952 to 2007. I, of course, was well and truly stuck in the late 80s to early 90s.


The 8-hour flight did not seem as dreadful as feared. I read a bit more of Landau, got distracted by dinner and started on a novel. After being deprived of novels for a year, it was a pleasure to read something that does not demand strenuous mental activity. (See this statement. Now it naturally follows that this is also true. And then if we allow the egg to rot, the Thunder Lizard will get angry. Follow? Good. Then when we use gravitational lensing to observe the passing of an n-brane, we will find the result. Correct?)

And when the brain got addled by this light reading, I turned on the video and watched The Matrix.

Trinity (Carrie-Ann Moss) is beautiful. Stop sniggering, it’s not the leather.

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