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Tuesday, 28 November 2006


Mustang Bobby

When I was flying back from the Caribbean once, we made a stop in San Juan and an elderly woman boarded the plane. She sat across the aisle from me. No sooner was she in her seat than she yanked out a large rosary and began reciting it loudly in Spanish. And I mean loudly. Full voice, and it wasn't a chant; it was with feeling. She kept it up until the plane took off and didn't stop until the drink cart came by and she helped herself to a little bottle of wine. As we approached Chicago, the whole ceremony started again, reaching its peak when the plane touched ground.

To paraphrase John Lennon, "Whatever gets you through the flight."

I can't help but wonder what would have happened to this abuela if she had been Arabic.


I can't help but wonder what would have happened to this abuela if she had been Arabic.

Most likely it would have involved a full-cavity body search. Or worse.


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i've often done my arabic homework on planes. i find plane rides to be a great block of time to get stuff like that done as there are few distractions and you basically have nothing else to do but to push ahead

that's why stories like these make me so nervous. it's only a matter of time before i'm sitting next to some anti-muslim nut-job and i end up in gitmo or something. to most people's credit, i've had a lot of interesting conversations with people on planes because of my arabic studies. no one has sikked the air marshals on me yet. then again, i'm flying to minnesota for christmas...

Wil Robinson

The hypocrisy lies in the fact that the same American who claim the Middle East has to have "secular government" while we need a "closer relationship" between Christianity and government here at home.


What would they have made of an elderly Jew rocking back and forth on a flight from New York to Los Angeles?

I think it was his first time on an airplane, and there was probably some crucial reason for the flight. I had to tell the person next to me what he was doing, because she had apparently never seen this intense type of Jewish prayer before, and I had only seen it in private settings in homes of Jewish friends, or in news film of the Western Wall. She wondered if he was having a seizure.

Airplanes scare the hell out of a lot of people of all religions and a major portion of them pray when flying.


i've often done my arabic homework on planes.

I sat next to a guy doing his Arabic homework on a flight from Cinci to Burlington (on my way home the day after NTodd's Pa's Wife died). I chatted with him a bit about how he must get some odd looks, how difficult the language and writing is, etc. I guess it's about the same as when I would do my Russian homework back during the Cold War...


Funny y'all should mention that. I'm starting to pack for my trip to San Francisco next week, and I was planning to use the plane ride to catch up on some reading for the huge end-of-semester paper I'm supposed to write for my Russian Revolution class--and therefore wondering what kind of reaction I'm going to get when I flip open a copy of, say Terry Martin's The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939. A couple of years ago as I was flying out to Vegas for my annual summer vacation with my best bud from college days, and reading Jean le Bitoux's Les oubliés de la mémoire, a book about the Nazis' gay victims. It had a big ol' pink triangle on the front cover, and as it was in the original French, the flight attendant who was giving me the eye all through the connecting flight from Denver finally had to ask me what it was I was reading. I gathered he was one of the family from his reaction. Also attracted some notice this summer when I was reading Patrick Weil's Qu'est-ce qu'un Français? on the way out to Vegas, but only from a French-speaking flight attendant. Would have been nice if he'd been in the family; he was cute!


I sat next to a guy doing his Arabic homework on a flight from Cinci to Burlington

that was you NTodd? :)

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