Friday, November 28, 2008

On the Hellish flight to El Salvador

Okay, it is no secret to any of you by now that I do not exactly have the ability to keep my mouth shut about how I am feeling, especially when I am feeling miserable…. and Oh Lordy, am I MISERABLE… I have done a lot of flying in my day but never have I experienced anything quite like this…

It is 4 am we have been flying for 3 ½ hours now since leaving LAX on American Airlines flight 797 red eye with my husband Mark on en route to Panama and Costa Rica by way of San Salvador the capitol city of El Salvador.

Discomfort has given way to despair as we have been smashed in with 300 El Salvadorian natives, it appears that are used to being literally packed in like sardines (actually, I believe that sardines would have better experience) The seats sit bolt upright with barely any ability to recline even the slightest bit, I am sitting so close to my next door neighbor, a sweet El Salvadorian man named Jose whose entire life story I now seem to know, (even though he speaks very little English and I very little Spanish) as a result of our new found close proximity to one another.

Poor Jose, is going home to visit momma as he does several times a year, since he got his arm crushed at the machine job he worked at. Anyway, the point is that Jose and I have become fast friends as the result of the seats being so tight together that we are honestly almost sitting in each other’s laps. But wait, there’s more….. It is stiflingly hot, I am hyperventilating, the turbulence is out of control, dozing is impossible sitting bolt upright in Jose’s lap, and I am trying to repeat my newly created mind of matter over matter mantra that goes something like,” I will not die, I will not die,” as I gasp for breath.

Said mantra is not working at all. So I have been forced to resort to praying, bitching and begging the overworked and not- moved- whatsoever to my pleas for help crew to let me move up to the one seat that I can see thought the curtain is still open in their version of “business class”. At least up there they appear to be somewhat normal size seats that have some sort of ability to recline, but my sob story of panic attacks, phobias, hyperventilation, and my final appeal to have them let me have the seat if I gave them the upgrade right now on my credit card,
has all been met by deaf ears and the kind of smug smirk that makes me think that they may get some kind of evil pleasure at seeing the “so used to comfort Gringo”, just having to deal!

I swear, I did not think it was even legal to put people through this… not for a five hour flight, not for 799$ a pop and not on American Airlines for the love of God!

The only bright news in all of this is that I have discovered reason #249 of how blogging has changed my life—are you ready? At God knows how many thousands of feet up in the air, in the boiling El Salvadorian sardine flight from Hell, I now feel with a certain confidence that I didn’t have when I started this blog that I will indeed live and be able to write you of more wonderful chapters of this Panama journey that I just know are coming soon. I have managed to get through the panic attack, I have killed at least an hour, gotten all this off of my chest (and speaking of chests, I even managed to free" the girls" without Jose or Mark who is sitting other side of me and trying his best to deal with an out of control wife on an out of control miserable flight), by taking off my bra under the blanket. This, by the way, took some brilliant maneuvering and worked out so well. I was immediately able to breathe better. Bras are torture devices in the best of times and on this flight….well, let’s just say—it was one hell of a smart thing to do! Aaaahhhhh.....

Yeah, I just heard that we are on final descent--- I made it. I lived!

More later,

Just Love,


1 comment:

Michael said...

So endearing, Patrice. I've never been on such a discomforting-sounding flight. The worst I've had it is when a guy behind me put his bare foot on my armrest. I turned around and let the whole plane hear me shout at him to get it off. Inconsiderate thing...

Anyway, I've also never been to El Salvador, how was it?