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There is something awesome about the inflight navigator’s map which spells out the destinations you’re flying to, around, close by, towards, away from.

They appear pop up with a determination and sense that no argument is to be had here. Bucharest will follow Berlin which will follow Amsterdam. No questions to be asked and no debate to be entered or entertained.

They make you go I wanna go there, i wanna go there, what’s happening in Vladivostok this minute? Why is it so dark on the ground outside Addis Ababa? Where are those city lights of Singapore?

The inflight navigator is a tool of genius allowing us to put places in order, faces to places, histories to events and coherence where there was none before. Even if we’re 44,000 ft above sea level.

It speaks of places emerging out of the radar, beacons flashing in bizarre unnamed and unheard of places all for the benefit of the distanced traveller who kilometres above those ground installations  imagines mysteries, delights and conflicts both real and imagined. The beacon outside Yalta may be an insignificant piece of technical installation on the ground but in the sky it speaks of wars, hot and cold, of leaders,afraid and psychotic, of saunas both welcoming and poisoned.

Thank you, inflight navigator.

You speak of the sun moving across the earth. A huge U shape marks the spots the terrain where the sun is out and people dance sing wave their hands in the air and protest; and the terrain which is in the dark and where the people hide sleep and wander around in moments of anxiety fear and terror.

Some are in the light, others are in the dark. Many are on the cusp, either entering the dark times or anticipating the impending moments of light. Many others have no idea which direction they’re moving towards and fret accordingly.

You speak too of temperatures outside our cosy cabin. 20 degrees plus on the ground but soon dropping. 10. 5. Minus 5. Minus 20. Minus 50? Is that possible? Minus 79? Theres no such temperature where we come from but there is up here. Its a place for temperatures unbeknownst to many of us. It may as well be like living in Ethiopia for all the lack of familiarity it suggests. The Ethiopia down there has its counterpart up here. There’s no escaping the hostility of the planet.

Thank you, inflight navigator.