“COMING IN FROM THE COLD: The DIASPORA HAS LANDED”- by Francis Quamina Farrier

“COMING IN FROM THE COLD: The DIASPORA HAS LANDED”
by Francis Quamina Farrier

Francis Quamina Farrier

Francis Quamina Farrier

I have just returned to Guyana after a brief trip up to Region Number Eleven. While there, I was shocked at the May temperatures in Maryland and New York in this year of our Lord 2016! It was so cold for this time of the year. I was of the view that after the month of March, the weather would warm-up! No way was it warm earlier this month – May 2016. Who do not believe in Climate Change, is living under a rock at the Rocky Mountains either in the USA or Canada; or maybe under one of those massive boulders down in the Kaieteur gorge in Guyana.

767-Fly Jamaica

767-Fly Jamaica

Yes, I have to admit that the weather in the north/east of the USA was not too welcoming for me, so when I arrived at the JFK International Airport in New York last Wednesday, to join my Fly Jamaica Airlines flight back to Guyana, I was happy and relieved. Similar to those of the Diaspora, I was “Coming in from the Cold.” I just do not like the cold weather. It is just not my cup of tea, or my bowl of piwari.   

Joining the queue checking-in for that Fly Jamaica flight to Guyana was none other than Our very Own “Guyana Baboo”, Mr Terry Gajraj. In a brief conversation, I reminded Terry that he remains among the top, of the top twenty best interviews I have done in my long career as a journalist. Terry Gajraj is one of the most beloved entertainers in Guyana and in the Diaspora. He has given so much in songs such as “Guyana Baboo”, “I Miss Guyana so Much” and the controversial “Guyana Nice but it Ugly.” There is one thing almost everyone agrees about Terry Gajraj; he is Nice and he is also Handsome.” What an effervescent smile that guy has!

In the waiting Lounge of Terminal One at the JFK International Airport, there was also the honoured Pilot Beverley Drakes; one of the very few living persons in the world whose image is on a postage stamp. As you know, Capt. Beverley Drakes is one of the very first women pilots in the history of Guyana; and there she was, like Terry Gajraj and so many others, heading down to Guyana for the Jubilee year celebrations. Capt. Beverley Drakes was not going into the cockpit of that 767 aircraft, but would be comfortably seated in the cabin, to enjoy the professional attention of the efficient Fly Jamaica Cabin Attendants.

The large Fly Jamaica 767 aircraft was filled to capacity with excited looking passengers. The take-off was good. The first hour or so into the flight was uneventful. But then came a bit of ‘turbulence’. It was not from the outside of the aircraft which was cruising smoothly, but from inside the cabin. A female passenger, who was probably in her late sixties, began to complain about her feet getting wet; she had gone into the washroom wearing only her socks, and stepped on some water on the floor. She kept complaining and criticizing. Then near to her, was a young man in his early thirties, who was seated directly behind me. He became very disruptive, making unreasonable demands of the Cabin Attendants. His grouse was mainly for MORE food and MORE drinks, which the (male) Cabin attendant explained was not possible under the given circumstance. He did offer an alternative to what was requested by the passenger. However, the disruptive passenger would have none of it, and began to curse. You know all the Guyanese expletives. The guy was LOUD! It is obvious that the fuselage of 767 jet aircraft is really tough. That plane withstood all those seat-to-wall verbal missiles and never a single crack! That Fly Jamaica aircraft refused to be broken apart and go down into the Atlantic Ocean just off the eastern Coast of Florida, with all lives on board gone to the great beyond. That plane is really a tough cookie. It just flew on as smooth as ever, south-bound over Cuba and toward the reggae island of Jamaica.

After realising that he was not getting the passenger to behave in a civil manner, the Cabin attendant wisely departed to the rear of the plane, leaving the disgruntled passenger to cool down on his own. As the aircraft completed its flight path over Cuba, and the Captain announced that he will be taking the aircraft down into Jamaica, the disgruntled passenger, who is GUYANESE, changed from speaking with an American accent, to that of a Jamaican accent. With a deep Spanish Town accent, he was ordering food of Jamaican cuisine. He was calling the female attendants “Hi You”, and the like. He was having fun. But then began to make all sorts of jokes, which had the near-by passengers entertained.

As the jet was descending towards the Norman Manley International Airport in Jamaica, some of the Cabin Attendants were walking along the aisles waving Landing Forms, and asking who were getting off at Kingston. No one in my section of the plane responded in the affirmative. We were all going on to Guyana for the Jubilee Celebrations.

There is another story of this Fly Jamaica flight “OJ 263” which I would like to share with you. Close to my seat, were two passengers who were obviously romantically linked; during most of the Jamaica to Guyana leg of the flight, the male passenger was resting his head on the warm bosom of the female passenger. She in turn was cuddling him. “Coming in from the Cold” had its benefits for that young man. He had, most likely, made a certain arrangement with the Cabin Crew. An announcement was made on the PA system on his behalf. Passengers were instructed to look to a certain section of the aircraft. We had already entered Guyana air space, and were cruising, not just the “Friendly Skies” but now the “Friendly and Romantic Skies.”

Taking the young lady by the hand, the young man guided her into the near-by aisle. Then going down on one knee, he said “Darling we’ve known each other for a long time, and I’ve always been in love with you. Would you marry me?”  The pleasant uproar by the passengers was almost like turbulence! There were cheers and applause! Passengers were jumping up and down; some even though strapped onto their seats with their seat belts. Nothing could have constrained the joy and excitement of the moment; “One Moment in Time” when they were on an international flight, cruising at 35,000 feet, and a young man making a proposal of marriage to a young lady who he was in love with for a long time. As he guided her back to her seat, tears were flowing down her pretty cheeks.

About half an hour later, the Fly Jamaica 767 jet aircraft made a smooth landing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport. The Passengers expressed their joy to be safely back in Guyana with grateful applause for the Pilot. The Diaspora had Landed; they were back in the Land of their Birth; where their navel strings are buried. They are here to join in the celebrations of Guyana’s Golden Jubilee Year. It will be for most of them, a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Photos from the flight JFK to GEO on Air Jamaica:

GUYANA FOLK SONGS MEDLEY – Terry Gajraj

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Comments

  • tulsiedas402sqn@Gmail. com  On 05/22/2016 at 2:43 am

    Mr. Francis Quamina Farrier thank you for your excellent article a masterpiece.
    very nostalgic.

  • Reggie Chee a tow  On 05/22/2016 at 9:30 am

    Thanks Francis.A humorous and entertaining piece,fit for a master like you.

    • tulsiedas402sqn@Gmail. com  On 05/22/2016 at 9:41 am

      Looks good on you Reginald Che a Tow, words of appreciation and thanks job well done.

  • Geralda Baker Moffatt  On 09/25/2016 at 4:37 pm

    Masterful piece! So much covered in short order. Also very entertaining in a serious way. Well done!

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