Colombia Trip: Day 1

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

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.

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