So, I've been going to Indonesia for about 5 winters now. I've stayed anywhere from 3-6 weeks each visit, but I would probably stay longer if I didn't miss my dog, MS Paxil Rose, whom I know is waiting back home. I would love to have here her but it's not the kindest environment. Besides, I'd imagine she would have more flying anxiety than I would. It would probably kill her. Without seditives, I'm convinced it will kill me.
Coming over my bags are pretty empty. I keep the essentials with my person (and so glad I did this go, more on that later) and check bags empty but for liquids and things people ask me to bring from the States. Usually my brother is in Lombok (he isn't this year) and asks for Easy Cheese, beef jerky, and Prilosec. No lie, but they all compliment each other pretty well. This year I carried over 50 lbs of stuff for people....Everything from organic tampons, chocolate, baby food, DEET, you name it. I felt like the scene from The Beach, when they were going to the mainland. A maximum bag filled to capacity- with just products that are familiar and useful to folks. I guessed it right around 50 Lbs, it came to 53 and they let me slide (Thank you Delta!)
My trips have been pretty uneventful for a while now, so I guess I had mine coming. My flight from Asheville to Atlants had some mechanical issue/s ("Maintenance issue, as the pilot put it). No one was aware of this until coming into Atlanta, right about at the runway where you can see people in their car windows on the highway just below, and ZOOM! Throttle screaming and we shoot straight up like being launched from a cannon. Everyone around gave quixical looks. Guy next to me (we'd had a short conversation about my fear of flying and need to medicate initially. I feel this in nessecery as sometimes upon take off I might act as if I feel like getting up and running. No need to alarm anyone un this day and age) gave me a reassuring glance. I immediatley wished I'd taken a whole xanax rather than a half, but the first segment is very short and I always seem to have to run in the Atlanta airport.
So we circle for a while, the clouds gathered. Start decending again. As we are approaching I can see the low cloud cover is thick like a soup, and I can't see all the commuters in their car windows until right before the touchdown.....That didn't happen. Throttle open, shooting straight up into the sky again, and now I'm even more concerned. My palms begin to sweat even more and I grip my seat. Looking around: people look a bit confused, no one seems to be paniccing yet. There is some low chatter amongst seat mates, HTF are people able to still nap in such situations?!?
Back to the circling skys. I can see other planes coming in and going out of the foggy soup below.
Captain finally comes on. "Uh, folks? We seem to be experiencing a maintenance issue, and with the fog below we can't see the runway. We're going to make one more attempt at a landing, and if that doesn't work we are going to divert to Chatanooga. We have enough gas to get there."
I take another half.......