BE PART OF THE TEAM

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: -2°C Friday 16 April 2021
Advertisement

The Happy Camper: east is east

Our man on the road has reached Abu Dhabi. That’s nearly New Zealand, right?

Image: WexDub via flickr/creative commons

THANK ALLAH FOR Abu Dhabi, the oasis in our long trek across the desert sky.

Although it’s not quite as plush as I imagined.

In my mind I had it painted with rose-tinted spectacles; a stop off to relax, grab a quick shower, post an article and check on the Champions League scores. Well two out of three ain’t bad (hard luck Gunners.)

Still the opportunity to stretch the legs after a seriously uncomfortable seven hours in the air was very welcome indeed. The flight started out nicely, settling in to watch X-Men: First Class with a can or two of Holland’s finest and a bit of dinner (chicken and spuds since you ask) that took us up to midnight when the harsh reality of plane travel began to set in.

I had decided to violently jolt my body into New Zealand time. It was 1am in Dublin when I began to scribble down the genesis of this article, but lunchtime in our destination city. So, rather than cling to the apron string of Greenwich Mean Time and concede to sleep, I resolved to battle the z’s away.

‘This lad has no trouble sleeping; he’s slept in a shopping trolley, in a bus lane, and, once, with his eyes open’

It’s a good thing too, because it turned out that the group behind us had the same plan, only theirs was not a silent vigil against the snooze, it was a full on double-barrel assault. The gargle flowed and the conversation lept from ‘O’Gara or Sexton’ to the wonders of modern technology without a fleeting silence. Sleep was impossible, as Tosh found out.

This lad has no trouble sleeping; he’s slept in a shopping trolley, in a bus lane, and, once, with his eyes open, so had no worries about planning his next one-on-one time with a pillow. He began his attempt to nod off somewhere over the Black Sea, but was still tossing and turning when we reached the Arabian Gulf. By which time he had pulled up his hoody and, like a bored fifth year in history class, slumped onto his folded arms which lay upon his rickety plastic table.

I know that I will get rowdy too soon enough, but on the plane was a little too soon and the Happy Camper turned grumpy, must sleep from now until Sydney.

Bleary eyes aside, the flight was great. The cramped space at my feet was my own bag’s fault and when travelling from Ireland to New Zealand, a country in many ways similar to our own, it was refreshing to be dealt a completely different culture to remind you that you are travelling to other side of the planet.

The film and TV was chocked full of the American productions we eat up on a daily basis but take a dip into the audio section and the first choice of listening available is the Qur’an. Scroll down further and you find almost 20 genres of eastern music and lost in-between were two headed by the word ‘western’- classical and pop. The flight map screen included a screen to show two locations, one changed show the nearest city, the other arrow was permanently locked on Mecca.

The night wore on and our attention span grew shorter and shorter, perfectly good films were switched on and off with barely a moment’s thought. Then, at last, the end was in sight. One by one the blinds went up on the left side of the plane, filling the cabin with a dark orange glow.

It was shortly before 4am in Dublin. Within half an hour as we continued west with the sun rising to meet us. The colour changed to brilliant white but it did not inspire much confidence in Tosh who looked at the map and moaned:

“We’re not even half way there!”

Read the rest of Sean’s postcards from the edge here>

Check out our Rugby World Cup mini site>

About the author:

Read next:

COMMENTS

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel