The Enigma of My Jamaican Passport

The chill of the night air on the outside still clung to the windows of the bus, but it was warming up on the inside. I shed the jacket the driver had lent me earlier when it had started to get cold. I had not expected, and so was unprepared for any weather like this. For it was Africa, after all, and Africa was supposed to be hot all over, and all the time. Even though I knew better — that it was a jigsaw of diverse countries running up and down latitudes – my recessed imagination of it being characteristically the same recaptured my mind. Characteristically hot. Snow-capped mountains? No. Hot deserts? Yes.

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On the Road to Africa

“Free seating, free seating! Sit anywhere you want!” He had to be talking to me, as it was I who had posed him the question about whether or not he was in the right seat. By the way he pitched his head though, and his voice too, he seemed to be addressing all of the boarding passengers. Perhaps he was already inebriated, getting a head start on buffering himself from the paranoia of being up in the air for the duration of the flight, scheduled to take off in less than half-an-hour. A head start on the liquoring up was necessary, just in case the plane was not adequately equipped – rather, stocked – with the precious fear-of-flying antidote. Flying was meant for birds, and not for man, locked down in great big iron contraptions, hurtling through the skies at forty thousand feet. I have been on countless flights where passengers, scared of flying, either took sleeping pills before take-off, or started numbing themselves with alcohol in the airport bars before boarding.

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Caribbean Christmas in Flight

The Air France flight just took off from Toussaint L’Ouverture in Port-au-Prince, headed for Miami, after a pit stop coming from Pointe-a-Pitre. On the way up from Guadeloupe there was an older man and a younger-looking woman seated beside me, just behind the exit row on the left hand side of the plane. Haiti was their destination, as a young dreadlocked guy is now sitting in the window seat of my row, the middle seat empty.

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