dispatch from the future
Leaving Kandy this morning at approximately 7.30 I promptly fell asleep on the long-suffering man next to me (whose even more long-suffering wife didn't seem to mind). I woke sporadically and apologised to the fellow, whom I'm not sure I didn't drool on. Ah well.
Next was the airport bus, always a maddening trip as they seem to drive around Colombo for an hour trying to get additional riders before actually getting on the (wide, well-paved, speedy) airport road. Fearing I was late, I did not stop at the Dialog GSM kiosk at Katunayake, missing my chance to add global roaming to my phone package (and save time-will-tell-how-much in texting charges, as I now have to find a new SIM). Then waited forever to get through ticketing, and another forever to actually get on the plane. The off-duty passport/immigration workers were playing a Snood-like game on their fancy flatscreens.
The flight involved more intermittent sleeping, but I had a window and thus was able to confine the (feared) drooling to myself and the wall. Friendly seatmate, mediocre movies with incredibly poor sound. I liked Hitchhiker's Guide but wasn't able to remember the book(s) well enough to puritanically criticize it all.
The above-all high point of the trip so far is that while we were flying over the Arabian peninsula, there were no clouds. I looked out and saw hundreds of miles of spectacular sand mountains, dotted sparsely with scrubby brush and cut here and there with tiny roads and trickly rivers. There were basined valleys of sand, each cupping scant grey skims of water in smooth oval shallows, each with a small town of small dusty buildings and no apparent roads into or away. There were larger, magnificent rivers, cutting abruptly across the base of golden-banded mesas and smoother sloped dunes. There were, later, irrigated agricultural plots in long psychedelic wavy strips, Op Art Prada knit as compared to the plain patchwork quilt of the American heartland. Amazing.
Heathrow, and London, feel like the future. Of course they always did, even when coming from Boston or New York. Everything is so clean and nicely designed and goddamn expensive! The hostel is a madhouse but who cares. The Piccadilly Line isn't running in Zone 1, which is a sad reminder of recent events. The trip is a success thus far.