Sunday, 27 September 2009

Delivery Flight to the Seychelles Islands

When my husband sold—on behalf of his company—the engine for the Boeing 767 bought by the Government of Seychelles, he had to participate in the delivery mission. I was invited to go along on the brand new plane.

A day before D-Day we flew to Seattle and attended an official reception gathering representatives from the company that built the plane, my husband’s company who made the engine and the Air Seychelles’ officials who came for the occasion.

Instead of boarding from the Seattle airport, we went straight to the manufacturer site. The security was incredible. We were escorted to a huge warehouse where the shining Boeing 767 awaited us. We took pictures and settled in first class for a champagne drink to celebrate the maiden trip of Air Seychelles new plane.

We were only ten official people traveling all the way to the Seychelles. In addition to the crew, pilots, stewards and stewardesses who pampered us during the twenty-four-hour voyage, the plane was transporting a choir of thirty children from Kenya. They had come to sing in the US and collect donations for charities in their country. They entertained us with lovely native songs for half an hour before the take off.

The plane flew from Seattle to a fuel station in North Canada, close to the Arctic Ocean. When the plane landed to refuel, we were allowed to step out to the aircraft door, all bundled up, for a few minutes, and we received a certificate of Recognition for visiting the coldest point of the globe.

In my whole life, I never drank as much champagne or eaten so well in a plane. After dinner, I changed my business suit to comfortable sweat pants. We spread around into the economy class, each lying on the whole length of three seats to sleep. I woke up when the plane stopped in Madrid, Spain, at eight in the morning, had breakfast, and changed again into pants and sweater. A bus took us to the downtown, gave us a quick tour of the city and brought us back at three in the afternoon. By then I was getting used to living in a plane and changed to my sweat pants for dinner and sleep.

Six hours later, we stopped in Kenya. A whole delegation, including the Minister of Tourism was out to receive us with fanfare and music. I changed again into a dressy outfit appropriate to the occasion and the heat. This time the choral children left the plane too. We spent an hour at the airport of Nairobi in an official reception hall. I refused the drinks and sweets the servers passed around but walked with the Minister of Tourism to a terrace from where he showed the mountains of Kilimanjaro and invited me to come back for a safari. I have never been back.

Four hours later we landed in the Seychelles. I will never forget the reception that welcomed us at the airport of Victoria, capital of Seychelles, as the President of Seychelles, himself waited for us at the bottom of the aircraft steps and shook hands with each one of us, including me!

We spent three days and visited four islands during this trip.

Mahé, home of the capital Victoria and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

La Digue known for its beaches with thin golden sand and granite rocks, giant turtles and huge coconuts. One fell from a palm tree on my arm and probably broke a bone but I didn’t complain or refused to see a doctor although my arm swelled and hurt for the duration of the trip. Back home I couldn’t wait to have it in a cast.

Cousin where I was eaten alive by ferocious mosquitoes.

Pralin that hides a rain forest called La Vallée de Mai where the tallest palm trees in the world bear female and male fruits similar to female and male sexual organs. The director of Air Seychelles offered us the female fruit, called Cocco de Mer. My husband keeps it protected under vacuum in a plexiglas box.

Mona Risk writes romantic suspense for Cerridwen Press, To Love A Hero and French Peril and medical romances for The Wild Rose Press, Babies in the Bargain and Rx for Trust.


Lindsay Townsend said...

Beautiful account, Mona! What an amazing trip. It's always fascinating, too, to hear about other people's jobs.

Glorious photos.

Sorry to hear about your arm - hope it didn't spoil the rest of your trip too much.

Savanna Kougar said...

Mona, what an incredible trip and experience. I'm in awe. Thank you so much for sharing and the photos are wonderful.

Mona Risk said...

Savanna, I am glad you like the pictures. This was the trip of a lifetime. I'll never forget it.

Mary Ricksen said...

Oh my God Mona you have had the best experiences, seen things that I will never see. Been to places I will never know. But for your Pictures and accounts. Thanks Mona!!!!
Wonderful account of an amazing trip of a lifetime!

Mona Risk said...

Mary, I had a lot of amazing experiences in various trips around the world. Some were amazing, some were scary and others just tiring.

Keena Kincaid said...

What a fabulous account, Mona. I remember when flying used to be fun and passengers actually got pampered. I've added Seychelles to my list of places to go.

StephB said...

Wow, Mona, what a wonderful account of your journey. I got a real feel and sense of the Seychelles. I loved your pictures! They were amazing.


LK Hunsaker said...

Mona, how fun! Other than a broken arm by falling coconut, but how many can boast something like that? ;-)

Loved the photos and now I want to be on a beach.

Mona Risk said...

Steph and Loraine, I am so glad you enjoyed my pictures and your armchair traveling to the Seychelles.