The mother of all stewardesses


  The mother of all stewardesses  On a long-haul flight  recently, I had the good fortune to get a bit of space to myself. Well, let’s say it wasn’t so much as luck as the fact that my destination wasn’t very attractive for the time of year. Who travels voluntarily into a monsoon? You’d need a very good reason…mine was work. As it is advisable to arrive well rested, I bypassed the in-flight films, but accepted an evening meal and a glass of red wine. I noticed that the stewardess liked me. How could I tell, you may well ask? You can usually sense whether an inner smile is synchronized with the external one. And because, unlike love, friendliness is far less likely to be one-sided, I gave her a grateful smile. That was it – for the time being. The aircraft flew its course, as if pulled by a long string through the night sky, past the half moon. Where would I be when it was full? How wet would it be there? Also, how hungry for blood would the mosquitoes be – and how recent was my last inoculation? There would also be issues with the electricity. I was flying on an assignment to a country in a state of emergency, and umpteen questions were bouncing around my mind. I was also starting to miss my girlfriend. After a second glass of wine, I felt ready for slumber, stretched out over the seats and nodded off almost instantaneously. Somewhere on the edge of consciousness, I was aware that the blanket, which I had perfunctorily bundled around my legs, had been lifted up and placed gently over me with a light shake. The flight attendant was covering me up like a mother. A shiver of gratitude rippled over me. At an altitude of 10 000 meters, I was momentarily home again.

Our columnist, Helge Timmerberg, an irrepressible globetrotter since 1969, writes travel books and contributes monthly to our magazine.