If you’re reading this, I’ve made it safely across the Atlantic Ocean from Sanford-Orlando to Brussels! If you’ve never flown out of the Sanford Airport- it’s unlike any flight experience I’ve ever had. The airport appears to be abandoned once you’re inside, and the gates float depending on traffic. Miggie at the bar was very helpful and made me a double Crown Apple and Sprite to ease my flying experience. Luckily I rationalized the cocktail with the cheapness of my plane ticket- less than $400 for a transAtlantic.
The in-flight entertainment for today consisted of a very interesting touch screen tv screen with options to “Play me,” “inspire me” or find out “where are we.” I brought a book with me, too – Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. I heard that it was a must read for my visit to India.
Fun fact: my suit case broke right before I left my house this morning and I used my crafty skills to bind it with duct tape. Worst part is that I JUST put stickers on it. On top of that, the airline made me check it which means I may never see my bag in one piece ever again. (UPDATE: my bag is fine, the duct tape is working great.)
I also spent quite some time chatting with the man next to me. His name was Carlos. He was Colombian but lives in Belgium. It’s funny- the lovely ladies I am meeting in Amsterdam are Colombian and I swear I make Colombian friends all over the place because I say “Ohh! My best friend is Colombian, blah blah blah.” Never underestimate the power of geographic relationships.
We spent hours talking about Florida- it was his first visit here and he said I could have Europe, he wanted to stay in Miami forever. He was very interested in the history of Florida related to Spain and France and Britain; he wanted to know if the Native Americans were hostile and violent like some historical documents say and how America was affected by the slave trade. It was honestly a fantastic conversation. As a Florida native, I felt like I was reteaching every Florida history class I’d ever taken. The cherry on top was when I gave him a list of springs to visit on his next trip.
He was fascinated and pleased with what I had to share with him. However, he thought my plan to go to India was a little crazy. It’s so interesting to me to see people’s reactions based on their own history. This man was from Colombia, a country torn by war and drugs and poverty. Going out of my way to visit a country that still suffers from enormous power outages made no sense to him. Why would I want to go somewhere without clean drinking water?
Luckily, Siddhartha’s introduction reset the tone quickly:
…the complex fabric of the culture of India was rich enough and its weave loose enough to accommodate all manners of eccentrics, wandering here and there, always on some spiritual pilgrimage or other, seeking beauty or peace, magical energy or complete transcendence…. as elusive as it continues to be, enlightenment is still highly worth pursuing.
Another fun fact: you know those magazines on airplanes with articles about destinations and ways to buy useless crap while you’re in midair? There was a picture towards the back of a young, blonde stewardess that just so happened to be working on my flight! At first Carlos said “no way, that’s not her.” But guess what? IT WAS!