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Subtle Understatement

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posted on Feb, 13 2017 @ 11:45 PM
It's not about the Ferrari or the Porsche, but rather the simpler things in life, the simplicity of it all. Maybe it's the attention to detail, or just that one thing you see out of the corner of your eye. It's not about the room packed full of expensive stuff, but rather the Spartan line across the bookcase and the painting placed just so. It's not about the stuff, but rather the 'line'...that subtle line of sight, just something you notice, but can't quite figure out. It's that little subtle taste in the wine you can't put your finger on. Too much and it would ruin the experience, but just enough to make you want more.

The hard right turn onto runway 13 was anything but subtle. In fact, to a first timer it scared most people to death. The approach was thing of legends, famed to this day. That a giant 747 could roll on its side down in between buildings like a fighter jet was amazing, headed straight for a mountainside, people's laundry swinging in the breeze above your head. The view out the right side was nearly straight down, and out the left all sky. For many it was truly terrifying.

On most days the wind was blowing across 13 over Victoria Bay. At night it was even more treacherous. Only a handful of pilots on Earth have ever been certified to do it, it really was all that. The legendary approach into Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong was like no other on Earth. Gone forever now, but the memories remain.

All the nice cars, the refined dinner guests with all the accoutrements was always something to behold. Even if it always felt like I never fit in really. I enjoyed the moment, but I noticed something in the process. Some people were completely consumed with the "image" of all that. For some reason, I never was. I just wasn't.

A sport coat and some slacks were good, I never needed the Rolex or the Gucci shoes (although comfortable shoes are nice).

Otto was all into the pomp and circumstance, but behind the scenes we were friends. He was a good guy, albeit caught up in the moment. Me, I was just a country boy way out of my element. It was funny actually. Me, I guess. I was probably akin to a high-society "dork" more than anything.

There was a famous 7-11 convenience store, I forget the address now, but it was right under the glide-path where the big 747-400's would start the sharp right hand roll for Kai Tak. It was a big attraction, and they used to sell postcards of pictures people took of the jumbos overhead, their wingtips almost touching the nearby buildings as they thundered overhead. You could almost touch them as they screamed by it seemed.

It was some kind of a corporate dinner this one night. There was always a reason for some 'corporate dinner' in that part of the world, another reason for some celebration of nothing really. Oddly, Otto and I had met a couple of pretty nice girls at this occasion, and they seemed pretty down to earth. HA! Now, Otto was completely out of his element. Once the lights dimmed and the music shut off, when all the glitz was gone, poor Otto was lost. He didn't know what to do. Like a fish out of water. If it hadn't been so awkward, it would have been funny even.

"Now what do we do?" Otto said to me, the girls looking curiously on.

(End Pt I)

edit on 2/14/2017 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 12:10 AM

Hmmmm....what shall we do?

"Well, let's go have some fun!" was my reply.

Outside the glitzy office building where the corporate event was, we hailed a cab. I gave them directions to the 7-11 (no one had any idea what I was doing, or why I wanted to go to that part of wasn't a particularly good part of Kowloon). We were all young and, speaking for myself, a bit crazy. The girls just giggled.

At the 7-11 we stood outside and took some crummy/silly pictures of the jets overhead and they roared by, and us, and whoever. Then we went inside and bought a bunch of the silly postcards, but there was more. It wouldn't be 7-11 without BEER! So, I'd gone and grabbed a couple six packs of some crazy Chinese beer (hey, the guy said it was good). I had one more place on our agenda.

We got back in the cab and I gave directions to the cabby. Otto laughed, my Chinese was terrible, but he knew exactly where we were headed, and between us we managed to get the driver to the right place.

High above Kai-Tak Airport was a place they called the "checkerboard". It was this huge concrete slab on this mountainside, painted in these giant orange and white squares. It was the 'target' the 747's flew directly at as they approached Kai-Tak. Above the checkerboard was a small little known parking lot. From the parking lot there was an old trail that lead down to the actual checkerboard. That's where we were headed.

I guess the young ladies were pretty impressed sitting there on the top edge of the checkerboard drinking beer with some dumb little radio, listening to The Cars, watching the big jumbos coming straight at us, nearly crashing into the mountain before they rolled on their sides turning into Kai-Tak. It really was something to watch.

Both Otto and I transferred out of Hong Kong to SE Asia shortly after that. I don't think we ever saw those two gals after that night, but they sure had a great time. One of them emailed me for years afterward. (not sure about the other one, and Otto, but who was the real dork? LOL).

I'm not sure what those two girls expected that night, probably something different, but oh well. Sometimes just a little bit of subtle understatement goes a long way.


edit on 2/14/2017 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 14 2017 @ 12:18 AM
I guess I should have noted "we", I, work in aviation, so the story (and even the party referenced) had special meaning.

Flown the World, and traveled the globe.

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