Sunday, April 5, 2009

Second plane ride. March 31-April 1 2009.

For the second time today I am 30,000 feet above ground. The ride is much smoother in the spacious Boeing 777. The sad part is the stewardess speaks in a slanted English accent, when they do speak English at all, makes it very hard to understand what is happening and what I should be doing.

We rocket forward at lift off, exactly like a huge roller coaster. As we rise into the clouds Chicago disappears below in a blanket of white. When there are clear patches I see snow below. There was no snow in Chicago, but very near it must have snowed. We are now hidden in the clouds, still rising, but the only way to tell is the back wards tilt of the cabin.

We are breaking through the clouds now. It is so bright from the sun reflecting off the snow. I see blue sky out there. It must be windy, the plane twitches every now and then. The moon hangs in a thumb nail crescent in all the blue. The white sea is now below us. We are once again floating. Frost is starting to form on my window. I wonder if we are not higher than 30,000 feet now. My tummy is liking this flight much better. I have gone from being afraid to being excited. I look forward to lunch and food.

The clouds have cleared! A marble planet lies below! Black water and ice swirled together. I don't know if I am over water or land. I think I am over Canada.

I now know I am over Canada... I found a flight tracker on the tv built into the seat in front of me. The marble planet still hangs below me. It is 1:20 pm here, we are following the sun into Japan, how appropriate. There is snow everywhere below. We pass over massive lakes. There are giant expanses of ice and snow. It is very beautiful. I see cotton clouds below, their shadows drift across the land scape. We are traveling via Alaska. The last town we flew close to was Thompson. We haven't even left North America yet. but if I believe the tv we only have 9 hours till our destination.

Lunch arrived. It was surprisingly good. Cold noodles with a vinegar and soy sauce and nori. And flavored rice with unagi (eel) and some veggies. We got some ice cream after words. The TV says it is -63 outside. I believe it. It is beautiful outside and the flight has been uneventful thus far. I made my first mistake, however. When asking for some after meal coffee I couldn't understand what the stewardess was saying, and so was funbling with my coffee cup. Finally the guy sitting next to me took my cup and gave it to her. And like that the problem was solved. I was VERY embaressed. I should not ask for anything any more. I hope the man gets up soon. My legs are starting to fall asleep.

I believe we are going over a massive lake right now. There are so many islands and I can see the few whispy clouds reflected on the ice. The plane is banking and we are altering course again. There are more clouds below us now. I can no longer see the view. I wonder if it is snowing below us.

We have netered a new time zone. It is now 2:47 pm at home and is 12:47 here. We are actually beating the sun. There is another lake down there. I can see ice flows drifting and colliding and floating down stream. We are going to pass very close to Fort Resolution. The landscape is splotched with white. I am having a good time but will have to get up soon. I am glad I have reading material. I understand what Modest Mouse meant by "Tundra Deasert".

We are passing over MOUNTAINS! Huge Mountains. It must be the upper half of the rockies. And a vast streatching, wide river. With mountains on one side and a plain or plato on the other. Cannyons and rivers and white rolling hills and More Mountains look like wrinkles on a face or hand. It is georgeous. I don't know how anything could survive out there. It is indeed the upper half of the rockies (the tv tells me so.) My god it is beautiful. I can see the ice flows and cracks in the ice in the many rivers. Some of the mountains make perfect linear ridges. And I love seeing the paths and cracks that ancient rivers have made. Clouds are starting to form again, veiling the beautiful mountains. My god they streatch so high to try and meet us. Ancient centinals far beyond time. If you look ahead of the plane it looks like we are falling, but that is all an orbit is, falling and missing the ground, and we are so high up we are indeed in orbit.

In places the snow is so thick you can no longer see rock or the sparce trees. It looks like rumppled bed sheets, with many boddies lying under them. In some places the sides of the mountains seem to ripple, and they look like the frills on a dancers skirt. It is such a blank whiteness, what poor creatures could live in a place so devoid of anything?

We are finally over the Pacific. I am surprised that we took such a northernly route. The iceflows are amazing. It saddens me that our planet is so altered for the worse. People used to be able to migrate across the Beringe Strait. Now it looks like a great piece of shattered glass. It is fun to look at the topography of the ice though. You can see parts covered by water, and how one may float atop and slope into the black water, making it grayer and grayer. Parts of it look like a map, where the ice has broken appart in crushed pieces. And other place where the ice makes jagged edges and lighting patterns. It's very pretty, but I wish you could still walk across it.

Lunch (actually breakfast) looks wholy unappetizing. I have juice though. I have made friends with all the toddlers aboard, surprisingly. One sits in front of me, a stone faced little girl who doesn't really smile much. And a little boy a few isles over who I met in the Gate that has the best smile ever. I think Japanese babies are better behaved.

I am in Siberia... or at least very northern Russia. It looks quite a bit like Alaksa, white, mountany, rivers all frozen over. It's almost whiter than Alaska, but the Mountains are smaller. We are probably 2/3s of the way done with the trip. More almost, only 4 more hours according to the TV. I am over a sea. It is very disorienting, flying over sater. With blue sky above and clouds and blue water below, it is hard to tell which way is up and which is down. You have to know your altitude, right now, 38,000 feet, I know down is where the soft pillow clouds are. I see white shimmers and dots in the water so far below. I wonder if they are boats or just the sun reflecting off the water. From up here they look like stars on a bright blue sky. If night was light. 2 and 1/2 more hours. We are almost to Sapporo.

Now I am nervous about landing and going through customs. Japan fron the air is beautiful. It is such a diverse land with it's beaches and rivers and mountains. It is wonderful to see the geography of the island from the air. I see so many farms downbelow and mountains too. We are now the highest we have been the entire flight, 40,000 feet. There is a lake in the middle of a circle of mountains, it looks like the result of a meteor eons ago. Now I feel sheated on the view. Lets hear it for cloud cover.

We came into Narita over water. Flying so low it looked like we could touch it. We flew over some farms and electric towers. It was interesting, it looks like a different country even before you get off the plane. The touch down was as smooth as it could have been. I had a wonderful first flight.

Thanks to the pilots and crew of Eve's journey to Japan.
Happy travels.

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