Sitting for some 18 hours in the economy class section of an SAA airbus A340-300 is not my idea of fun, but it has to be done when your daughter lives just over 13500 km away. Mind you, I was in one of the shittiest seats on the plane, row 46F. Don’t go anywhere near it if you can help it, it’s almost as bad as the back row seats next to the lavatories. I was in a row of 4 seats behind a row of three, so our seats didn’t line up with those in front of us. This not only made it uncomfortable for me to watch movies as my t.v. was not directly in front of my seat and I had to crane my neck in order to see the screen, but every time I wanted to get in and out of my seat the passenger next to me had to push his t.v. screen back into his armrest because it blocked the way to the aisle. Oy vey, and if that wasn’t bad enough the padding on my seat cushion was virtually non existent and by the end of the trip my coccyx was making its presence felt.
I am not one to covet material things – I don’t swoon over designer clothes, I don’t care for Louboutin shoes, I’m not into expensive jewellery, branded handbags or anything really that can be described as a status symbol. But as I’ve got older, when I board a plane flying long-distance and see people relaxing in the business class section, the green-eyed monster in me comes out in full force. And I have to admit to twinges of self-pity for having to suffer the indignity of travelling economy class. However the frugal side of me will always balk at the cost of a business class ticket, money that could be better spent on something more worthwhile than my comfort (although what exactly that could be escapes me right now!).
Surprisingly, despite having hardly slept, I didn’t experience any jet lag. Kiera and James picked me up from the airport on Sunday morning at 7 and took me back to their apartment where I unpacked, washed and changed and then off we went to the Eastern Market in the gorgeous Capitol Hill neighbourhood of Washington, D.C. We parked some distance from the market and walked along sunny streets lined with quaint Victorian rowhouses and gardens bursting with roses. I was a world away from winter on the farm. The market was smaller than I thought it would be but it had a nice laid back vibe and it was pleasant to meander around all the various stalls without feeling the pressure of a crowd.
We bought delicious spicy dips, salsa and homemade tortilla chips at the market, picked up some Dos Equis beer at the supermarket and made our way back to the grounds of Kiera and James’ apartment for a lazy lunchtime picnic under magnificent magnolia trees. By this time my equilibrium had long since been restored and all thoughts of budget travel and being hard done by were long since gone. I felt like the most privileged woman alive.
And yes, there really are magnolias in blossom “round everybody’s door” here in Arlington (Virginia) where Kiera and James live.