Oops, today events are interrupting my Kiwi train of thought and your tour of New Zealand.
If you haven’t heard the news yesterday and today, Northern Europe is experiencing Air Travel havoc as all airports in nine countries in the region have been forced to close their airspace and suspend all plane travel.
The cause? The volcano under the Eyjafjallajoekull glacier in Iceland is busy erupting, spitting out steam and ash and generally throwing a geological tantrum.
This is something I can understand completely, as I was born in a country full of seismic activity, with Mount Ruapehu in the North Island particularly active, having also stopped New Zealand air traffic in a similar incident in 2007.
The Netherlands is a small country, and densely populated, Schipol airport outside of Amsterdam is one of the busiest hubs in Europe. As I type, thousands of cancelled flights have meant ninety thousand stranded passengers, and that’s only from this one airport.
I’ve watched various news broadcasts and most people, although they completely understand that safely comes first, are still frustrated at the delays, trying to book alternative routes to their destinations because we still aren’t sure how long the ash will keep coming this way… queuing for possible accommodations or (not) looking forward to spending the night in an airport terminal.
A few people bucked the trend of reason and acceptance that naughty volcano’s spewing ash are not subject to Civil Aviation control, and complained bitterly that they should be able to fly anyway, “at low levels” …
OK, once I had suspended my disbelief at the realisation that they were actually serious about this proposal, I shook my head at their stupidity, come on people, volcanic ash strips paint off planes and acts like sandpaper on every component of it’s engines, it’s not like in a car if the engine stalls and you can pull over onto the shoulder of the road… it’s where you can literally without warning fall like a stone out of the sky.
I guess that some of these people need more of a reality check that I can provide without getting unnecessarily sarcastic and what good is it to be so desperate to go on holiday that you’d be willing to risk it being your last ever journey?
Come on people, THINK! Think hard !
It ‘s also a signal that today’s western society is time-tabled to the max… schedules, inflexibility, everything by the clock, has to run on time, even our leisure time.
We live from one appointment to another, we have to BE somewhere, NOW, or else.
In contrast, my travels in the Pacific regions are to the opposite extreme, everything is almost too laid back, chilled and hey man, no hurry… …tomorrow? yeah … ( …maybe) LOL.
Maybe we need to get a grip on just how much we try and pack into our short lives, and more importantly, why we bother to do half the things we do.
Probably it’s the Kiwi in me, if I were an Amsterdammer living close to Schripol Airport I’d be getting making the spare bed, pumping up and air mattress, pulling out the cot bedding, going to the airport and offering a stranded family a bed for the night, especially if they have young kids or babies. Surely even a mattress on the floor and somewhere to tuck your kids up in safely would be appreciated, even if it were a bit cramped?
Sadly this kind of mentality doesn’t seem to be part of today’s society these days… and what a shame. I live almost an hour’s drive from the Airport and appreciate that most stranded passengers probably don’t want to be so far away in case flights can resume sooner than later…
In the meantime, our skies, usually criss-crossed with jet trails are uncharacteristically clear… the clouds are feathery and artistic and somewhere waaaay up in the stratosphere there is a ton of volcanic ash doing a whistle-stop tour of Northern Europe.
The Dutch weatherman promised me a dramatic sunset as volcanic ash compensation… HA !!! it just got dark and Nature appears to have reneged on that promise, at least from my windows nothing dramatic at all. (update: apparently I looked outside too late, a friend got some great photos after all and got some photos… I’ll see if I can post some later when she emails me).. apologies Mama Nature, you delived after all as promised.
Just goes to show… Nature shows very little regard for the tiny substance on the planet that is Man… and maybe it’s a good thing that because of her and her volcano’s fury, that we stop in our tracks, remember and respect that sometimes.