Friday, December 29, 2006

Near Death Experience

I've ever been so scared in my life.

Still here in the Middle East, we decided to take a trip to another city within the country, and so went to a travel agency to buy our tickets. Now in the US, this wouldn't a big deal at all ... just book whatever flight was available or cheap and you'd be set. Unfortunately, here you have to watch out because some flights are aboard the infamous Tupolev planes.

If you're not familiar with Tupolev, read here and here. In short, Tupolevs are Russian-made airplanes that are notorious for crashing. They drop out of the sky like flies. All you have to do is look at one the wrong way and it'll crash.

Anyway we reserved flights that weren't on the dangerous airplane, and we thought that was that. However, on the day of departure, we were boarding the plane when a crew member stopped me to and told me to check in my little carry-on bag. I asked him why, and he said "these Tupolev planes are very small."

Um ... what?

My mom and I immediately faced each other and saw the shock in each other's eyes. We asked the guy to repeat, and he again confirmed that it was the airplane we didn't want -- the one aircraft we went to great lengths to avoid, the one aircraft that determined our travel plans for this little trip, and the one aircraft that prompted us to stay an extra night at that city (to avoid Tupolev flights).

The crew member tried calming us down, and for the most part he did, until I stepped foot on the plane ... and saw all the signs were written in Russian. Not calming. Neither was the fact that this plane was incredibly small, half-filled with broken parts (seats, floor boards, overhead compartments, etc.), and smelled like gasoline. I'm no rocket scientician, but I am pretty sure airplanes shouldn't smell like gas.

Luckily -- thankfully -- our flight was uneventful and we arrived safely. We were flying to the holiest city in the country, so it would have taken one mean God to bring down that flight. (Ironically/coincidentally/unfortunately, we were flying to the same city mentioned in the article above.)

I know this isn't much of a medical post, but I guess it does loosely touch upon some medical ethics ... namely, end of life issues.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh man, you are living my alter-ego life. I have a plane disaster story from like 8 years ago (Latin America, engine failure) - now I am totally flight phobic and have to just pound back the valium to fly, literally cannot get on a plane otherwise. I always say, good thing there were all those Catholics on the flight because they all started screaming for intervention from all the saints and so on when it started going down! If it had been a plane to here, it would have gone down no question.

Glad you're back. What's up?