Schiphol airport. The man sitting next to me is intently staring at the three flight attendants having a discussion at the gate desk, as if to will them with his eyes to call for boarding. Our flight is due to leave in 15 minutes, yet we’re still sitting at the gate. At last the flight attendant moves the microphone to her lips. “The plane is broken, we cannot fly,” is what she says (not her exact words, of course). The plane that was to kickstart my trip around the world and, not unimportantly, had to get me to London in time for my transfer to Madrid so that I could there hop on a plane to Buenos Aires, that plane chose today to break down..
Rule no. 1 in travelling: nothing ever goes as planned (no doubt I will come up with many more number one rules over the course of this trip). Luckily problems have solutions: one hour later I was on another flight to London, chatting away with an India-born, British-speaking American. He advised me to teach yoga while travelling, gave me tips on self-defense and told me a love story that would have everyone believing in destiny. He is writing a book about it, which I will have to read up on because I missed part of his story when the plane suddenly plunged to its left, then jolted to the right and sent the flight attendant flying into the lap of a business class passenger. I’m sure the aircraft would have fallen out of the sky if it hadn’t been for all the lucky charms friends and family gave to take with me.
On the plane to Madrid, which had also been delayed, I overheard a British girl expressing her worry over making the connecting flight to Buenos Aires. I made the too easy joke to keep calm and carry on, which surprisingly enough landed me her friendship. The story is about to get boring: in Madrid the plane to Buenos Aires turned out to be…broken. (Good thing I now had a friend to pass the time with). I don’t believe in signs (well, I do if they’re good signs), but I’m sure a pessimist would have thought the gods were telling her not to go on this trip. If anything I believe the four-leaf clover, porcelain pig and horse-shoe were proving their money’s worth. Imagine all these planes breaking down up in the sky!
And so 27 hours after leaving home I arrived in Buenos Aires. The charms and I are lucky to be here.