Colombia Trip: Day 1

The trip really got off to an interesting start as our plane was waiting on the tarmac at Newark International Airport. The pilot came on the radio and said, ¨Folks, believe it or not, this is not the first time this has ever happened.¨ (Words you don´t want to hear from your pilot pre-takeoff. That´s like hearing the pilot say, ¨Folks, now that I´ve finished my drink we can get going.¨) The pilot continued. ¨We are hearing a strange knocking sound and we think we may have locked a baggage handler in the luggage compartment and he´s trying to let us know that he wants out.¨ You think? After a hefty delay of about an hour the pilot came back on the radio. ¨Folks, it turns out the strange knocking sound was actually just a misfiring pneumatic valve. The good news is that it´s something we don´t really need once we´re up in the air so we´re gonna go ahead and get going here shortly.¨Really, I thought to myself, how about we go ahead and switch planes and make sure that´s the only thing misfiring or to see if there were any other dangerous stowaways hidden in the plane´s undercarriage?

Anyways, we did go ahead and got aloft safely. The movie that was playing during the flight was ¨Mamma Mia.¨ This movie has actually become one of the highest grossing flicks of the year and just moved in to second place in the U.K. as the second-highest grossing film of all time there, so I decided I may as well give it a viewing since the likelihood of me ever seeing it when I wasn´t a captive audience was slim at best. After about an hour into the film I began to wish that it was I that was locked in the luggage compartment where the hum of the jet engines would drone every other sound out. I really liked Sweden when I was there, and they really have a fantastic culture, but Abba is clearly one obvious blot on Sweden´s otherwise rich history of cultural exports. I began to think that this is what the rest of the world probably thinks of America when they hear a Josh Groban song come on the radio or watch a Michael Bay film. On behalf of the United States I officially apologize to the rest of the world. I now know the pain that you have felt.

Published on November 19, 2008