Wednesday, February 25, 2015

[THIMPHU] Why Drukair Is So Expensive

I knew something was fishy when I asked for a window seat and was told that it didn’t matter because it was “free seating”. Free seating? Even provincial buses have seat assignments. My doubts were put to rest when we finally reached the boarding gate. There we were. All ten of us. Ten. When we got into the plane we each claimed a row and pissed on the aisle to remind everyone that it was OUR row, OUR territory, and that no one was allowed to trespass.

So this is why Drukair is so effing expensive. For a flight that does not even last an hour, almost USD 250 for a seat is just too much, right? But then again this is the national airline of a tiny country that relies primarily on tourism for income. And wow, their country is just so hard to reach. Drukair has no inflight entertainment to speak of because they do not need it. All you have to do to entertain or frighten yourself is look outside the window 20 minutes before landing. Those moments will be stuck in my mind forever. Seriously!

I was busy with the inflight magazine and my inflight snacks when I noticed something rare from a distance. At first, they seemed like clouds to me except that they had dark patches of gray extending all the way down below. Only a few minutes later when I saw mountain ranges appear out of nowhere did I realize that those clouds might have been the Himalayas. This is the first flight in which I have witnessed such odd and rather frightening sight.

You see, even before we descended to a lower altitude, we were above the clouds when those mountaintops started to materialize. They looked surreal, as if threatening to scrape the bottom of the plane and have us all fall to our deaths if we do not give two million dollars’ worth of ransom money. They were terrorizing like that. As we went lower and lower, the scarier it all became. How the heck is the pilot planning to land this thing? Are we going to descend on one of the mountaintops?

As my ears noticed the lowering of the plane’s landing gear, a voice in my head started panicking, repeatedly saying, “Fuck, I didn’t sign up for this!” while a calmer voice said that I was overreacting and that Drukair has never been on the news before due to a crash. All I could see from the windows were mountain ranges, lots of them. They were dotted with what seemed to be temples, which I later found out to be ordinary houses built in the traditional Bhutanese style.

My line of sight from the window was limited. All I know is that the pilot somehow found a plain wide enough for us to land on. As the plane dared to touch the ground, more houses started to emerge in the background. And then a loud thud was heard and we were on the ground. Touchdown, Bhutan. Welcome to the Last Shangri-La!

We were the only flight at that time and the small immigration hall was big enough to accommodate all ten of us. After the immigration officer stamped the visa and the entry stamp on my passport, I immediately went to the baggage carousel before going outside to meet my driver and guide. Winter has just ended in Bhutan and the cool breeze was refreshing, although it is a totally different story at night. Hopping on the SUV, we drove away towards the direction of the capital.

3 creature(s) gave a damn:

Anonymous said...

Hello po! Suggestion lang po sa website layout nyo, sana po choose white background and black texts. Mukha po kasing spam/terrorist website yung theme. Suggestion lang naman po. Thanks.

ihcahieh said...

Hi! Actually matagal ko na iniisip yan kaya lang na realize ko nung nag attempt ako magpalit ng layout na LAHAT ng blog entry ko (1300+ of them) naka white yung font intentionally. Hindi siya template. Meaning for me to change the font color, kailangan ko isa isahin yung 1,300. So di na lang.

Anonymous said...

I thought you cannot go to Bhutan without pre-arranged group tour. Did you join one? I haven't finished reading this entry yet. Lol.

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