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On the eve of departure

Tomorrow we fly off to Osaka. Almost everything is packed, I have copied umpteen video files on to a variety of storage devices. I know I won't watch most of them, but at least I have the option. I should be excited, but as usual, a few morbid thoughts cross my mind: what if the aircraft crashes? What if there is an earthquake? What if the house is burgled while we are gone? What if something happens to our dog?

There is not much more I can do about any of those things so I put them in the back of my mind where they belong. It's interesting how we find often find flight so frightening in comparison with the statistically more dangerous activity of driving in a car. For me I imagine that most car accidents are sudden, that death will probably come quickly. However, aircraft crashes may be preceded by long periods of time where the plane is falling out of the sky or shaking wildly. Even after a high altitude explosion you may be conscious as you drop to the ground (as is suspected for some victims of the Lockerbie bombing of a Pan Am aircraft).

It's not the actual death that bothers me, it's the knowledge of your impending doom.

So it's a love hate relationship I have with flying. I love cruising high above the ground and viewing the Earth and the sky from a different perspective. I love the feeling of being enclosed in an environment away from the stresses of the ground. But I hate the bumps and fear the sudden drop that is felt deep in your guts. I will never be an astronaut.

Well, enough of that, because I am looking forward to beginning the holiday. These past few days as winter has changed to spring have been very relaxing, the quiet workplace, the warmth and clear skies more reminiscent of summer holidays. No work for a week means weekends even more relaxed than normal, no trying to squeeze out every last drop of pleasure before the weekly grind begins once more.

We spent our lunchtimes with the in-laws eating laksa in the city and yum cha in the south. We played with Kita, wishing that we could bring a dog as a travelling companion. And quietly we cleaned the house so that it will be fresh and welcoming upon our return.

And finally, I have discovered a way to begin our journey early, without any fear of flying. It's been discovered that the latest version of Google Earth has a built in flight simulator, accessible by Ctrl-Alt-A. I don't care that it's not as sophisticated as MS Flight Simulator, it's damn cool with the high resolution imagery. Fortunately I own a joystick as it is much easier to control (hint: plug the joystick in before starting Google Earth). Keyboard instructions are here.

Tomorrow, it's for real!


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