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Island hopping
Photo essay: The expanse of sky is almost heart-stopping.  The expanse of ocean stops it.

 

Fereshteh Saheli
January 10, 2006
iranian.com

I have this sudden urge to have a drink with a pretty little umbrella in it, and not just any.  Off I go again on an island-hopping adventure to soothe my craving for life, for peace, for freedom, for fantasies, and the simple things in life.

Island-hopping is not for the faint of heart.  After all, one has to get on a shoe box with wheels and fly high enough, the only information provided to the authorities being your name and weight!   Do not fudge the latter.  This is not a time to be coy.  A few extra pounds more than the watch’a-ma-call-it is designed for, and you might find yourself missing a few extremities, sprawled somewhere in the middle of the ocean.

The pilots around the islands do not give any information one might normally expect for a flight either; no altitude, no length of trip, not where the oxygen mask is (or if there is any).  Pretty much the only instruction they do give (and emphatically so) is something like: “If you get scared, do NOT grab me.”  That sure sets my mind at ease every time I get on their tin cans.  

Once in the air, god and the prophets are called upon with amazing regularity in a variety of languages and religions.  I suggest you stuff your ears with cotton balls especially if you’re a newbie.  I doubt one will be comforted further when the person next to her is pleading with some god, screaming about what good deeds he will perform if he lands safely on some ground.  One wonders why it’s not when they land but almost always if they do.  To these people I say do please remember you’ve got to get in this thingy again for the ride back!  They might want to take it easy on said good deeds and save a few.

Hop on yet another tin can I do though.  I have the island bug.  My own chicken heart beats so fast every single time, I’m surprised it doesn’t have a cardiac arrest.   The first time and the next time, it’ll always be the same; but I’m a veteran now and behave accordingly.  I sit all of two and a half seats way in the back lest I annoy my pilot, and a very solid buzz has tranquilized my known senses.  What awaits me though is nature at one of its most glorious.  The views from up above are breathtaking.  Nothing like seeing one side of the ocean from a big huge airplane’s tiny little window; it’s more like what the Wright Brothers would have seen if they were flying over these islands.

The expanse of sky is almost heart-stopping.  The expanse of ocean stops it.  Where the two meet is a whole other world.  The ocean is dotted with chunks of earth, habited by humans and not, one of the most beautiful sights I’ve beheld ever.  Aquamarine waters surround one completely.  In my head, I see the curve of Earth, befuddled as always with its enormity.  It would behoove us humans to have a healthy respect for all.  Under all that grace, there’s a super-power to be reckoned with.  The island I’m hopping on to now was devastated again by yet another hurricane a couple of years ago. It has only two numbered roads, half of which isn’t paved, and the lesser half gives a whole new meaning to the word.

Click on photo to see 17

Click on photo to see 17

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