Sunday, December 14, 2008

Trains, Planes and Cars- a view from a Pan Town native!

So “Manny” from the Agape came to pick me up at the airport today. It was so good to see a face from “home.”
It was Manny’s first time to the airport. Here is some of the conversation that took place during the 4-5 hour jeep ride from the airport to Pan Town.

Manny – I watched so many planes come in…yours was late, and I didn’t see you for a while, I was thinking, maybe you changed while you were gone, maybe I missed you or didn’t recognize you, maybe you got fat, or skinny, or looked different and I had forgotten…but then I saw you, and it was okay. (I wonder if he thinks somehow you get transformed when you fly on a plane!)
Me – Yup, I’m still me! How are you doing, how is everyone in Pan Town?
Manny – we’re okay, well, no, not really okay, but better now that you’re here!
Manny – So, how do planes work? I mean, can you pay more and get there faster- like an express train?
Me – Um, no, not really. Well now, that’s not quite true. Sometimes, you have a few options – some planes may stop once or twice before your final destination and sometimes those tickets are cheaper than flying directly. So I guess in that way, you are paying more to go their directly, and thus faster…
Manny – Do cell phones work on the plane?
Me – No.
Manny – So, I didn’t realize how much coffee costs at the airport!! It’s really expensive, I asked for coffee, and figured maybe 5 or 10 rupees, which is already more than normal. I was shocked when he said, “15 rupees!” (15 rupees is about 35 cents).
Me – Yeah, airport items are usually more expensive…in my country too it’s like that.
Manny – are there different types of seats on the plane-- like more expensive ones, and cheap ones?
Me – Yeah, the people in the front pay more and have nicer seats…I have never sat in one of those seats!
Manny – do you get food on the plane?
Me – sometimes, depends on how long the flight is, and the airline.
Manny – how can you drink water if you are going upwards into the sky?
Me – Well, you only do that during take-off for a few minutes, then it levels out.
Manny – So, I heard that everyone in America has a car- is that really true? I heard that just like everyone here has a bike, everyone there has a car…is that right?
Me – Well, many people do have cars – but just like here not every single person has a bike, not every single person in America has a car, but many do. Our public transportation system is not as good or efficient as this country, and it would take forever to get places without cars…And trains are much more expensive than they are here…
Manny – So, people buy cars, to save money not taking the train? (implying that doesn’t make sense).
Me – well, partly, and also because it might be several kilometers to the nearest train station, or even bus stop. And we don’t have rickshaws and taxis available like you do here.
Manny- Oh, I see… (but clearly not fully understanding!)

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