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Hidemi Woods 

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

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Hidemi's Rambling No.546

The flight to Vancouver where I stopped over on the way to Los Angeles was unexpectedly comfortable. The plane wasn’t crowded and the flight attendants were all nice and attentive. In my old days that I had traveled between Japan and U.S. back and forth every three months, I used to fly an awful airline that I chose for its cheap fare. That airline’s flight attendants were generally terrible. They were chewing gums and walking with stepping on the back of their pumps. They threw a bag of peanuts at a passenger and a requested drink was often off. I once witnessed they crammed a large number of cans and bottles of drinks that they hadn’t given out the passengers into their own bags right before landing. They must have had a spree with them in a hotel room that night. When I asked for a small bottle of brandy once, I was told it had been all out. A man sitting behind me asked for it right after that, and the same attendant pleasantly handed it to him. I asked my partner if it was racism. He told me that it wasn’t a grave thing like that but the attendant simply couldn’t lie twice in a row and had to give it unwillingly. That airline no longer exists after it went bankrupt several years later and was taken over by a rival airline. The flight I took this time was completely different. Adding to the good service, it wasn’t a bumpy flight and I didn’t feel sick as I had worried before. The only glitch I had was when dinner was served. Although I had requested beef beforehand, an attendant said to me, “We have extra chicken, too. Would you like it?” I reckoned that I could have chicken added to my beef and said yes. And I ended up having just chicken, not beef. Beside that small thing, I had enjoyed the flight all the way, which was quite rare to me. It almost blotted out all the unpleasant happenings before departure and I even got to like this low-cost carrier. But as always, nothing goes so well without an incident when it comes to me. It happened when the plane landed on Vancouver. The seat belt signs were turned off and the attendants were preparing for the doors. The passengers were standing on the aisles with relieved expression on their faces and their bags in their hands, waiting for the door to open. As the door opened, instead of the ground staff, half a dozen men and women dressed in black rushed inside the plane. They were wearing bulletproof vests on which the letters POLICE were written and carrying weapons that seemed firearms and others. The air inside the plane instantly froze. The flight attendants looked surprised too. One of the police shouted “Everyone, go back to your seat and stay there!” We all sat in our seats again, with a straight back for some reason. No one was talking and they were just looking ahead with shifty eyes. The plane was filled with extreme tension in a complete silence. I remembered a news sequence I watched on ABC World News a couple of weeks ago. It eerily looked just like this situation. The police rushed inside the plane aiming guns and it also occurred in Canada. I began to feel panicky, imagining that a shootout would start in any moment or a plane would explode. I thought I knew something bad would eventually happen. I would have never set my feet on North America with this trip after all as troublesome preparation had hinted. As I was being swallowed by fears, a young woman appeared from the back of the plane. She was walking with both her arms held by two policemen, accompanied by another policeman who was carrying her bag. After they left the plane, the rest of the police asked some questions to the flight attendants and got out. Then all the passengers were allowed to get off the plane. My partner and I finally reached North America and took in air of Vancouver. I wasn’t sure what happened to the woman, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t easy for me to get here…

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