View from a plane window

Seeing your destination from the window of a plane, for me, is when the excitement of a journey really hits home.  Flying into Honolulu, Hawaii (above) was one of the most gob-smacking moments I'd experienced.  I simply couldn't believe that there were places so beautiful and that I was about to actually go there.  It seemed like something from a dream. The turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and jutting mountains were all calling out to me.  But I've also found there's a bittersweet pleasure in the places that you can't go.

Stopovers can be frustrating because you're confined within the airport, unable to go out and experience the city around you.  I'm now in Sydney (yay!) but my connecting flight from Los Angeles took me through Fiji and it was utterly spectacular.  The sun was rising as we made our descending (I'm sure the Fijian tourism board is responsible for that timing), and the sky was lit with pinks and purples and lemon yellows.  The ocean was very blue and spattered with tiny paradise islands and turquoise lagoons.  But it was coming over the main island itself that blew me away.  Amongst the jagged formation of the mountains I saw seams of lava running up the sides emitting smokes.  An active volcano!!  I squeaked in excitement.

It can be frustrating though, especially when your connecting flight is delayed and you are stuck at the airport.  When I was headed to New York for New Year a couple of years ago, I ended up sitting around in Reyjkavik Airport for four hours waiting to head out.  Not a bad delay, considering, but intensely annoying to me having enjoyed the breathtaking snowscape and picturesque villages from the flight in.  I also knew that the famed Blue Lagoon was not far outside of the Icelandic capital and fantasised about being able to have gone and dipped a toe in before returning to jet off to the States.  Entirely unfeasible of course, even if I had been able to leave the airport, since it was late December and almost midnight.  Didn't stop my righteous indignation anyway.

Some places just look entirely surreal from the sky.  Phoenix, where I have connected flights maybe three times but never actually visited, is one of those American cities that seems to defy nature.  In the middle of arid desert for hundreds of miles around, suddenly an area of patchwork fields appears.  From there, a city with manmade marinas backing onto the wealthiest homes.  The typical US grid layout really hits home when you see it from above, and as someone used to the higgledy-piggledy streets of European towns, the sight is somewhat unnerving.  It is fascinating to look down on a city from so far above, removed from all the ground-level connotations, and take an abstracted view.

No comments:

Post a Comment