Ho, Ho, Ho

Our flight from Prague to Boston via London that was supposed to happen on Monday got cancelled due to weather. Though annoying, this result (i.e. sitting in Prague for another four days) is infinitely better than the scenario of getting stuck in the insane, raving madhouse that has been Heathrow Airport for the past week. The broad strokes of this story are the tales of people stuck in the airport for four days and mile-long lines for the Eurostar train to France, but there are also juicy smaller details like the plane that finally received clearance to take off after hours of delay but then had to taxi back to the gate because some guy wouldn’t stop praying in the aisle. Given this whole tapestry of bad, I’ve been happy to sit in Prague and sip my seasonal hot wine and wait this one out.

If our next flight attempt (scheduled for Friday… with no stops in Western Europe, thank god… Prague straight to New York this time) runs into delays and frustrating problems, I’m going to struggle to keep in mind the example of Tsutomu Yamaguchi, unquestionably the victim of the worst-ever travel story. Yamaguichi was in Hiroshima on business on Aug 6, 1945, the day the atomic bomb was dropped. Having survived and spent the night in a emergency tent, he then boarded a train* to his native Nagasaki, arriving a day before the next bomb was dropped. According to accounts, he was literally in the middle of telling his manager at work about the first blast when the second one happened. I guess it would be something like being in the World Trade Center when the first plane hit, then somehow running up into the next tower before the second plane hit. There are believed to be over one hundred people who experienced both blasts, but Yamaguchi is the only certified nijū hibakusha (double blast experiencer). He lived until early this past year, when he died of natural causes at 93.

Take that, frustrated Euro holiday travelers!

[* None of the accounts I’ve read explain how it is that you could just hop a train the day after a city was nuked. Was the snack car running?]

1 thought on “Ho, Ho, Ho”

  1. Good point! In fact, there is a rather disturbing book called Nine Who Survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It does put airline delays into perspective but it’s still getting out of control. We had a 14 hour delay leaving Auckland last month because the runway lights went out mysteriously.

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