Life’s little surprises

Long-haul flights have never been a favourite past time, but sometimes it’s necessary to get a numb bum for the sake of seeing a bit more of the world than the pub down the road. The China Southern flight left Guangzhou at 20 past midnight, which meant it was somewhere around 5 in the evening in Paris (a.k.a the destination.)

As flights go, it wasn’t bad. I managed to hold my breath, when the teenage kid kept sneezing, long enough for the viruses to disperse. I was also pleased that I had a seat far away from the butch woman in the boarding queue who insisted on coughing all over the other passengers. Even the noisy baby in the row ahead of mine couldn’t put a damper on the ambience of the flight. Of course it did it’s best, fouling its nappy halfway through the night and leaving a stench in the cabin that could choke a skunk.

The on-board movies were acceptable. I didn’t mind watching ‘Lucy’ again. I agree wholeheartedly with her comment: ‘We never really die’. Of course I also love the part where she turns black and becomes a computer, then dust. I pity the person who had to clean that up! My handicap on the golf game was hampered by the non-responsive touch screen, but I would watch people being punked on ‘Just For Laughs’ until the touch screen revived, albeit temporarily.

We arrived at Paris, Charles De Gaulle airport around 6 a.m. I made my way through transit security to the next terminal, which involved another long-haul journey, this time on the shuttle bus between terminals. We arrived at   the terminal just as I was about to ask the bus driver if on-board meals and entertainment would be supplied.


I found myself in a modern and airy terminal with plenty of seating and French pastries. It was while I was wandering around, surveying my environment, like a tiger in a cage (I flatter myself here), when I found, much to my complete amazement, a red piano. There it stood at one side of the departure hall as if it was the most natural thing in the world to find in an airport terminal.

I approached the piano with caution. The lid was open, tempting me to sit down and play it. How I had missed my piano back home. Usually it’s forbidden to touch a public piano. I was further surprised at the signs on top of the piano in multiple languages urging travelers to play it! ‘What a good idea’, I thought. Truly one of life’s little surprises. I sat down at the keyboard on an airport chair half expecting an airport official to tap me on the shoulder and say something like ‘Sacre bleu! Qu’est-ce que tu fais?! Go away, silly Eeenglishman!” However, the signs meant what they said, so I serenaded the immigration officers in their booth and a handful of fellow passengers. The bastards didn’t even clap! Oh well. Fame and recognition are, I feel, just around the corner.


© 2016

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