Monday, November 08, 2010

Thirty-three Years Ago Flying Over India

Diwali from on high

1977 was a great year for me as I finished off my tour as Political Officer in Saudi Arabia at the American Embassy. That year during Ramadhan, we had a very cheap [$100, as I recall] amount to travel anywhere Hajj flights were returning to empty after disgorging their passengers in Jidda. I signed up for a trip to Jakarta and recall on the trip eastward at night flying over India in a Martinair L1011 and all the country from west to east was illuminated. I asked the Dutch pilots what the reason was and they said it was the festival of lights, or Diwali [I guess]. During my three week stay in Bali Sadat announced his trip to Jerusalem and I thought I was truly living in paradise.

On the trip back, the Dutch pilots let me sit in the cockpit and pointed out various sites in Sri Lanka where their Dutch bush pilot friends had crashed decades before. They let me land in Jidda in the cockpit after asking me if I were a licensed pilot...!

Great adventure, one of the best in my life.

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