Wednesday, September 19, 2012
To get from St. Paul to Kharkiv it took three flights.
1. Minneapolis/St. Paul to Chicago
2. Chicago to Munich
3. Munich to Kiev
and then a train from Kiev to Kharkiv.
As Flight 2 was about to begin it became clear that the call light button was continuously going off and the staff was searching to see if someone was continually pushing the button every 10 seconds. Finding no one, I heard one steward say to another, "it must be a ghost in the machine." There are few more frightening words you can hear before a nine hour flight.
As we were sitting there the DING, DING, DING every 10 seconds I did some math...
6 dings per minute
360 dings per hour
3,240 dings over nine hours
3,258 dings our flight was over the nine hour and three minute flight.
Fortunately, it didn't quite come to that as somewhere over northeastern Canada the dings stopped.
Flight 3 our of Munich proved to be the most interesting as at least half the flight were Orthodox Jews from the United States. It turned out we were in the middle of a pilgrimage route to Unam, Ukraine. During Rosh Hashanah, several thousand Orthodox Jews travel to the burial site of Rabbi Nachman who founded the Hasidic sect of Judaism. During communist times the pilgrimage was pretty non-existent but has flourished again since the fall of communism.
One East European tradition that MUST be brought to the West is the tradition of having the everyone on the plane applaud the pilots when the plan lands safely at its destination.