December 31, 2010

I don”€™t recall in excessive detail what happened during the following hours, but I”€™m certain it didn”€™t involve any sleep.

After a not-very-refreshing two-hour layover in Changi Airport’s sterile madness, it was time for my epic voyage’s second leg. I mercifully managed to secure a few hours”€™ sleep this time, but when I awoke”€”to searing white light”€”I ordered two more large Scotches and a couple of beers to accompany my rubbery breakfast omelette.

By the time the plane had landed, I felt as rotten and twisted as I had ever felt. My head had almost doubled in size, and my calf muscles were screaming with hysteria much like you get the second day of smack withdrawal. (The long-haul experience isn”€™t too dissimilar from the whole process of coming off smack.) As a writer, I sought to put into words how my head felt as we taxied off the runway. How did it feel? How did it feel? I wondered. Then I got it. My head: My head felt like bad breath. Bad breath! So did my breath, mind you, but that was it, by Jupiter! My head felt like bad breath!

On my way out, I caught a glimpse of some of the suites”€”yes, actual self-contained double bedrooms”€”that take up lower deck’s front half. A-ha, I thought, so here was another problem the A380 had failed to address: the grotesque disparity between rich and poor. For the rich, air travel”€”like life”€”must be one long, luxurious flattering of the ego; for the poor, air travel”€”like life”€”is an absolute fucking NIGHTMARE.



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