23 August 2005

The Heart of Dorkness, Part 1.

The portents were ominous.

“Good afternoon from the flight deck. We just wanted to warn you that we will have to turn off the plane to reset one of our computers. It’s acting strangely”

Well, if one must “turn off” the plane, I suppose that the ground is the place to do it as it drastically reduces the possibility of plummeting to a fiery death. So we sat. And sat. And sat on the sweltering tarmac. I was sweating alcohol at an alarming rate and soon was in grave danger of sobering up.

“Ladies and gentlemen, just an update. We successfully restarted the computer, however one of the starboard flap sensors is indicating that the flaps are up, when in fact, they are down. We would like to have a mechanic look at it.”

Indeed. Good call. Buoyed full of confidence by the steel trap reasoning skills of our pilot, I was equally impressed when the mechanic, who must have been at least fifteen years of age, sauntered over to the flap, poked it a few times with a twig, then gave the pilot the thumbs up. We were off.

I would mention the name of the air carrier, but in this litigious day and age, I feel that discretion is the better part of penurious settlement avoidance. I shall merely state that it was an American Airline.

(Legal disclaimer: Dr. E. Scientist is only joking. Besides, he lives in a rat infested cardboard box near the railroad yard. Dr. E. Scientist has no assets, with the possible exception of an impressive collection of intestinal parasites. Nothing to sue here, please move along.)

Hours later, we landed in darkest Aureegun, welcomed by blast furnace heat, and our native guide, Bob.

“Come.” Bob beckoned to the Land Rover. “This place is crawling with Duks. We must leave, or risk attack.”

Aureegun is in the middle of a long civil war between the two principal tribal groups; the Duks and the Beevoes. Bob, a young Beevo warrior, was wearing traditional Uareegun dress, tie dyed tee shirt, shorts and sandals. He also sported garish orange and black face paint, and was attracting hostile glares from several similarly clad, but differently painted Duks.

“In our war paint,” Explained Bob. “we blend in seamlessly with the road construction cones that bloom prolifically in Aureegun’s long summer months.”

“I see.” I replied. “And what does the green and yellow markings of the Duks allow them to blend in with?”

Banana slugs.” Bob replied tersely. Charming.

We sat in silence as the Land Rover began to wend its way through the mountain roads towards the high desert. The rain forest nightfall soon spread its ominous cloak over us. We could smell cook fires and hear the natives drumming. Duks? Beevoes? Bob wasn’t sure.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so alone.

End of part one.

In the next installment….
Evil and Bob share a meal of Plov with a very lost band of Turkmen gypsies.
When Grannies attack! (Night of the boutonnière pins).
The Wedding and General Matumbo.

And that's the way I likes it.