Alitalia. KLM. Air Lanka. Nigerian Airways. British Airways. Singapore Airlines. Qantas. Ansett Australia. South African Airways. Virgin Blue. And those are just the ones I remember.

But in spite of all this experience, I can’t retain what kinds of planes they were. Was that one a Boeing 747, or a 707? A DC-something, or an Airbus? I admired how my dad knew.

My first plane memory is of walking on the tarmac, holding my mother’s saree, closer and closer to the loud, screaming thing under the plane’s wing. The cotton-buds in my ears were not doing their job. I can’t recall whether I was carried, or I climbed, up those sharp, slippery steps. And then the screen goes blank.

There are other memories. The distinctive interior smell. White rectangles covering head-rests. Air hostesses handing out exciting activity packs. Wonderfully western things to eat. Sucking lollies to ward off blocked ears. My parents frantically filling out disembarkation forms.

Then, there are vivid memories of catching planes in Nigeria. Flights were regularly over-booked – I cannot recall whether this was just domestic flights or not. When a flight was called, all passengers joined in a huge rush from the terminal, across the tarmac, to the plane. May the nimblest win!

I remember sitting in relief in a plane, and a tall Nigerian coming and claiming our seats. There was a moment of panic before other seats were found for us!

Once, during the mad dash at Kano Airport, I cut my leg on my hand-luggage. The wound was still bleeding when we landed in Maiduguri, and since it was a weekend (i.e. no clinics open), my uncle stitched me up at his dental surgery. My very first stitches. The scar remains, a source of intense embarrassment when unblemished legs were important.

Now we often indulge in a spot of plane-watching. And last Saturday, it was the Superjumbo!

What a view!

The Qantas A380 made its brief Adelaide debut. Cars and people lined the streets around the airport.

Cameras at the ready

We missed its arrival, but found a vacant spot opposite our usual viewing area – just in time to see it taxi to the end of the runway, and take off.

Off she goes!

As we were crossing the road back to the car, a passing motorist yelled, ‘Was it worth it?’

It left me pondering. Was it? Perhaps it wasn’t for some of the hundreds who turned out that day.

Planes have a special place in my life. They signify adventure, transition, hello, goodbye…

Yes, we need to actively grapple with the impact they have on our race, our environment, our world. But they are amazing feats of technology, testament to that self-same race’s creative abilities. And, depending on what your religion is (or isn’t), that is a tiny reflection of the creative abilities of an amazing God.

Yes, it’s been worth it. All of it.

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2 Responses to “Planes, more planes, and an Airbus A380”


  1. Planes, more planes, and an Airbus A380 « Official mkPLANET Blog
  2. Planes, more planes, and an Airbus A380 : mkPLANET

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