My First Time Crossing Borders

I’ll never forget the first day I stepped onto an aeroplane. So unsure of what I was to do. What was expected of me. I hopped on a plane from Cape Town to Johannesburg. Sat down and buckled up immediately. Then it happened…Lift-off. I remember looking out the window seeing the Mother City being left behind. All I could think of was how beautiful my city was. Blue skies and azure sea. Dots of homes and that mountain I love so much. At 29 years-old I was like a little girl on Christmas morning.

We landed at OR Tambo International and waited for the connecting flight to Hong Kong. Went through security and headed off to the boarding gate. Boarded the plane and looked for my seat just to be in confusion central. I had a window seat booked so I could see the world outside but my neighbour had already planted himself in it. My polite self decided to keep my trap shut tight (because sometimes one cannot control what comes out) and plopped in the aisle seat. Worst mistake ever.

As the flight commenced I noticed something strange about seat-stealer…he had a twitch. I don’t have any issues with people with twitches but the combination next to me didn’t work. He talked…A lot. I generally don’t talk to strangers so this was just weird. It was a case of too much too soon. Told me how beautiful the coast of the rest of Africa was below and then went on to eat his KFC he brought on board with him. A smell I am not very fond of. He took a drink or five and became quite chatty. Strange that as his tongue became loose his twitch became non-existent. That I found fascinating. Anyhoo…he seriously took up quite a bit of my reading time real estate. All I wanted was to be left alone with my book. He had to get up to go so many times. I stopped counting how many times I had to get up to make way. I couldn’t wait for him to just go to sleep.

Stop Talking

Eventually he did go to sleep and I could finally get into my book. But of course…he had to wake up at some point. I so wish I could actually witness our descent to Hong Kong firsthand rather than hearing someone’s blow-by-blow account of our landing. The disembark couldn’t happen fast enough.

Thankfully I have had mostly good flying neighbours with whom I have engaged with on occasion. Also, I have had many many hours of in-flight reading which is something I love. May the experience of the tipsy chatter never be repeated.

©Shelley Smidt-Booys

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11 thoughts on “My First Time Crossing Borders

  1. Ha. Ha. We would make great travel companions. I just want peace and to read my book, too! You need to wear headphones and just be in your own world.

  2. hahahaha i think i’m too sociable on a plane to have a bad neighbour. but yeah totally get that. so brilliant reading about your first time :-p

  3. Lol! I know that feeling of having a chatterbox on your hands. I am glad you survived, I wish you only pleasant flights in your future.

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