All hope abandon ye who enter here (Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy)
If you want to understand what is most precious in your life –FLY YAT AIRWAYS
(I.Nesterenko, author’s sweat slogan)
February 21st, 2011. Belgrade-Tivat. Flight duration: 45 minutes. YAT airways.
I didn’t think they were still making those little planes… as it turned out –they don’t, in fact, they haven’t for some fifty years.. well, no, I don’t want to discuss the implications thereof, at least not now –when I just managed to let go of the seat handles and breath out, as I was clutching onto those fiercely whilst this tin was attempting at taking off at such a clutter I thought it will fall apart any minute… as I was approaching the plane the pilot waved at me enthusiastically as a character of a Russian joke - a pilot rolling out in a wheel chair with words: well, then, my dear kamikadze, let’s have some fun!).
Up in the air now – I decided I shall write this experience down –as maybe that’s the last time I’m writing and somebody will find those momentos (memento mori!! - those romans were so damn right!) together with or instead of a black box – I doubt there is one though).
What an omission (#1)! My neglect for duty free alcohol seems unforgiveable now – it could have saved my life, or at least put me in a more jovial mood before the finalE…meanwhile, the construction is shaking like Hell, very much like my washing machine I used to sit on so that it doesn’t shake its way out of the bathroom - it can be rather entertaining, and even exciting – in any other circumstance.
By the way, there are only 9 of us, which is half the plane – a Yat Mighty Handful.. Dust in the wind..we are just dust in the wind – a song is boring my mind.. A funny looking airhostess apparently entering the foothill of her middle age (now I know where all hostesses who are past their prime/subject to recycling go when they loose the allure of youthfulness which is part and parcel of this airy occupation) solemnly points at an emergency leaflet omitting the formality of familiarizing the scarce passengers with the details thereof, and announces that we can find it in the back of the frontal seat. I Rush to look for mine. Omission # 2: Why, oh why do I always neglect those wonderfully articulate in their vigorous gesticulation hostesses! The instruction I find is extremely eloquent: it depicts a girl with yellow hair, in pink and blue. Picture 2: rising up. Picture 3: approaching the emergency exit. Picture 4: opening the emergency exit. Picture 5: STEPPING OUT – NB: without parachute! … a wise passenger (apparently, not a Montenegro citizen) took a seat by the emergency exit. He’ll spare the first three Pictures.
As the plane gains height, the elderly hostess approaches me with a smile revealing a perfect row of golden teeth : You can unbuckle your seat belt, dear, anyways, we are about to fall – I expect her to say… ‘would you like to drink something?”, she addresses me in a broken English and presuming she stopped mid-air and the sacramental ‘before we fall’ or something similar is about to follow, I take a pause prior to answering. She looks at me expectantly… well, now I feel like I’m on a private jet, being served and pampered –if it weren’t for the cigarette smoke I can sense now. I look around –wondering, if somebody, likewise, decided we are on a private flight and felt free to indulge in a puff… nope, no one around is smoking. Neither anyone is off to the lavatory (I counted). ..the only person I can not see from where I’m seated is the Pilot (my deductive mind is still operating quite well!)…well, he did look like someone who enjoys life –in all its variety, and it’s not limited to smoking –maybe I could go to the cockpit and ask the pilot for a shot. … By the way, did you know that Tivat airport ranks second – on the scale of difficulty of landing conditions…
See you in the next ..chapter.