As I write we are directly over Nizhniy Novgorod a city south of Moscow and I can see that the ground is white , so I imagine deep snow in Russia this time of year. Having been up at 5 this morning and on the plane from Glasgow to Heathrow I was already quite tired when we left Heathrow on a Cathay Pacific jumbo jet for Hong Kong. There are stil 4389 miles to go according to the moving map and our arrival time is set to be 7.05 am Hong Kong time, which is about 11 pm Greenwich Mean Time. Since beginning to write this the light over Russia has diminished by the minute which means having already changed my watch to HK time I think it really will feel like it is night time.
The Cathay service is impeccable - even when travelling cattle class - and the Chinese stewardesses could not be more helpful and polite. I had requested a diabetic meal, as I knew it was likely to be simpler and with no sauces or fakeish cheesecake dessert, and so it was. A perfect chicken breast and vegetables, an undressed salad and a bowl of mixed melon pieces. With a square or two of my 85% chocolate and a coffee it was not a million miles away from my usual fare at home !
I am hoping that my 'checked all through to Hong Kong' suitcase is indeed in the hold and not winging its way to Dallas or Islamabad, or adjudicating could be a very informal affair in my travel clothes......I'm not panicking yet!
The totally frustrating part of my travel is that unfortunately around 8 am this morning my hotmail account just seized up like a fatally wounded digital rhino. Nothing I could do to it re setting passwords, retrieving codes etc could put it back into action. I did set up a Yahoo account in double quick time and can now use that, but my ipad is almost totally dependent on the hotmail information.........surely someone in the high tech capital of the Far East will be able to sort me out ? I absolutely refuse to pay thousands of pounds on my mobile phone to have them take 20 mins to put it right - though I submit that I may just have too.....Agh.
I did try to watch a film but after my lovely dinner, sleep got the better of me and even the new Robocop blockbuster couldn't keep me from snoozing.
There is a helplessness about long haul air travel which is not unpleasant and slightly more than the feel of being in limbo. Apart from the hideous lack of wriggle room, I always feel oddly secure in the fact that the inability to do anything is rather peaceful and conducive to brain rest ! My brain is always in the centre of a gazillion black dots and about three or four different languages every day, giving it a rest is very pleasing.
I feel a little more Robocop coming on so ta ta for now, and will pick up when I arrive, or alternatively when I feel the urge to stretch my little grey cells once more in a few hours......
Another film down and we seem to be on the Russia / Tashkent border with China. It is still night time, and I can see the lights of Yining, on the ground and we have 2390 miles left to HK. Which is 4 hours 37 minutes according to the moving map. It is telling me that the temp in -76 outside, so colder than Paradise was yesterday when I left - or was it today, or perhaps the day before ! It is a very clever moving map which actually shows moving around the globe rather than a flat picture.
The world according to Cathay Pacific
First sign of dawn as we are 200 miles off the South China Sea
Truly the land of the rising sun