Friday, 25 January 2013

In flight from RAF Brize Norton (BZZ) to Ascension Island ASI, Jan. 23, 2013 (Frithjof)

We made it! We are finally in the air! Due to very wintery weather, Pieter and I had decided to spend the night with Alexandra and Andronikos in Old Aberdeen, enabling us to have an early start. Conditions were very wintery indeed as we hit the road, close to a whiteout, but things cleared up between Dundee and Stirling. We arrived RAF Brize Norton, the UK’s largest military airbase, even 2 h ahead of our own schedule, but that sure was not a bad thing – and Aldo joint us shortly afterwards, arriving by Eurostar from Paris via London and Oxford. We were the first passengers for our flight in the terminal – 6 h before departure! While waiting in the empty lounge, I got a SKYPE message from Kay McCallum in Stanley, our destination – the 2 shops there had temporarily run out of plain flour, so I quickly left the airbase and got her a bag from a local store: Aldo still had space in his suitcase. Anywhere else, this would be a trivial problem to solve, but supplying the Falklands is anything but!
As we boarded the plane, I realized that my seat 4A was in Business Class – very lucky, and even luckier, the seat next to me was unallocated, so I got Alexandra to join me and abandon her Tourist Class seat in the back of the plane. Αυτό λέγεται κωλοφαρδία, μου έμαθε! Two Business seats for an overnight flight to the other side of the planet, really couldn’t be better!!
Looking from my window, I could see a splendid, almost-full moon and the Orion over a magic, snow-covered English landscape as we escaped the European winter. Hot Ascension Island is now awaiting us! Lots of thoughts and memories were going through my mind, for many years the Falklands and Antarctica had been the ultimate dream destination of my life – and this was now already my 4th trip to the region and almost certainly more to come.

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