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  • Floating through the clouds and back down to life

    Out of the dark of night, a brightly lit city, roads, illuminated monuments and the flow of traffic loom into view. Emerging from darkness into light, or from blinding sunlight into pitch darkness...

    I’ve had this incredible experience twice in my life, once when flying to South Korea and years ago when flying to Tokyo.
    When I glanced down from a plane taking off from Rio de Janeiro, I saw the mighty Amazon winding across a plain
    like a slender snake. On another plane, taking off from Sicily, I watched with awe the black fumes rising softly from Mt Etna. How orderly Prague appears from a spring sky, and if you look closely as the plane descends to land you can see the pink peach blossoms that fill the city, and the green and yellow fields.
    The enchanted Far East.
    A long-haul flight... The singular excitement I felt when the plane landed in Singapore... How I was caught in a warm monsoon rain as I was leaving the airport, and Sentosa Island, like magic, overlooking the harbor.
    On another trip...  I was spellbound when my plane landed in Honolulu. Hawaii captured me in an instant. This is a world so far away from everything. Wildly colored orchids, flocks of parrots winging through the air, pearl fishers rushing towards me, bearing pearls in the palms of their hands, artists who paint portraits by looking in the mirror, the  rickshaw I took that evening, pulled by a native... Dusky-skinned people with a smile on their face, an aged fortune-teller in the hollow of a large tree... Torches burning at the roadside by night... The sound of music in the air...
    Flying, going to fresh new countries. Experiencing them and writing up what I’ve seen and felt... This is a big part of my life.
    Florence, the Uffizi, the Café Rivoire; sipping a cappuccino there and contemplating life.
    Consuming a rich chocolate pastry at Le Valentin in Paris, strolling down the Rue de Rivoli. The Louvre and the mummy of a pharoah under glass in the Egyptian section.
    I look closely at the pharaoh’s mummy and I understand once again what a great adventure living is.