Friday, January 23, 2015

Taking a winged, metal beast to Mexico

The Missus, myself and a couple of the our young ones (who aren't so young anymore) will be heading to Mexico in the near future.
I have never been to Mexico before and am looking forward to a big glass of their refreshing, straight-from-the-tap water.
I am kidding or course, while I may never have set foot on Mexican soil before, I have heard about the fun and excitement that awaits an unsuspecting traveller who downs some of its natural liquid resources. I am hoping to avoid that particular aspect of Mexico as I do not want to spend all my time viewing a foreign land from the inside of a toilet stall.
This will not be your typical Mexican vacation. No all inclusive resorts for this family. Instead of five days pool side, we will be spending three days building a house for a less fortunate Mexican family.
Everyone chips in to cover the cost of the materials needed to build the modest home, so not only are we going there to work for someone else, we are paying to do it.
I have never claimed to be too smart, but of course the reward of helping someone in need will far outweigh the expense and effort.
We are all very much looking forward to it. But it won't all be toiling under the hot Mexican sun, the last two days of our adventure will be spent pool side at a hotel on the ocean.
But before we can do any of this, we have to get there and that means taking flight in a winged, man-made beast.
I do not have a lot of experience flying and the first time I was on a commercial jet was when I was 23. I had been on a short flight in a helicopter before and even 'flew' my buddy's single engine airplane for a brief distance, but my honeymoon trip to California was my first jetliner experience.
My dad is deathly afraid of flying and he passed some of those fears down to me, so when I boarded the metal tube of terror all those years ago, I was a nervous wreck.
It did not help that we were flying at night and bounced our way through a storm. My wife, who was cool as a cucumber the entire time, said I was as white as a sheet as I gripped the armrests of my seat hard enough to leave a permanent impression.
Even after we cleared the storm, the plane was still vibrating, but now it was because of my uncontrollable shaking.
The return flight was much smoother and much more enjoyable and since then I have been on a few flights, including to Russia and back.
That was mostly uneventful flying, except when approaching JFK airport on the return trip where we slammed into a severe thunderstorm.
Uhhh, this is your captain speaking, we may encounter a little turbulence on approach, so we are asking to keep your seatbelts on and secure all loose items.”
A little turbulence? A little? That was like saying Godzilla was an itty, bitty salamander. I have never experienced anything like that in my life as the plane dropped like a stone several times causing screams of pure panic (no, not from me). Many of my fellow passengers were completely freaking out.
I looked over at a flight attendant and even she looked scared.
I thought that can't be good, but when I realized there was nothing I could do about the situation, I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. Being scared and screaming like a small girl would not change things. Besides, it was not like there was a spider in my shirt or anything.
Any fear of flying I had left in me was gone at that moment and taking flight is no longer a concern.
So I am looking forward to the upcoming Mexican adventure, eager to see new lands and meet new people.

Copyright 2015 Darren Handschuh

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