Today is the quiet day with numbers, so not much to say except let’s see how tomorrow pans out. Yesterday’s spike around here is mostly attributable to a few known and developing clusters, but we’re at the edge of the 14-day window after the Easter long weekend… so its effects, if any, may also be coming to light. I’ve just guessed at today’s B.C. number, but for what it’s worth, Ontario today saw it’s lowest numbers for new cases and deaths in two weeks; more signs of everything going in the right direction.

I’ll adjust numbers tomorrow when we get a real update, but for now, with not much more to add, writing yesterday’s airplane post reminded me of something that happened about 20 years ago… just before 9/11, when there was a whole lot less security… almost non-existent in some airports. So I’ll tell you about that.

I was traveling from Chile to Costa Rica, via a brief stop-over in Lima, Peru. The usual pit-stop for fuel and more passengers.

The city of Lima is right on the coast, and the airport is next to the water. Having stopped there before, I knew there had been a time when they'd make you get off the plane and go to the waiting area, where they'd hoped you’d spend your hard-earned dollars on low-grade over-priced Peruvian artisan crap. I guess nobody ever bought anything because now they’d given up; now you wait on the plane. In fact, as punishment, except for those whose final destination was Lima, nobody was allowed off the plane.

The plane lands, the doors open, air-stairs pull up. The plane is out in the middle of the tarmac, so they open both the front and back doors, allowing the lovely midday breeze to flow through the plane. The sickly aroma of trash, rotting fish and jet fuel is a "refreshing" change. The holy trifecta of nauseous smells, all conveniently packaged for your travelling convenience.

They leave the doors open because those guys in orange vests and clean-up people and inspectors and whoever are all walking through, and then the new passengers start getting on as well. The plane's air-conditioning hasn't been turned off during any of it, so the smells are well-infused into the system by the time they close the doors.

A few people are complaining about the smell, but the stewardesses are helpless. They shrug their shoulders and make sympathetic noises about spraying deodorizer once we're in the air. I've got my face buried in this little "eye-pillow" — it's not very big, but it's full of Lavender and Sage and other wonderful-smelling herbs.

Fast forward to about an hour into the flight… the smell hasn't gotten any better. In fact, it's worse — especially the fish aspect of it. It's really bad. I'm wondering how it could possibly be getting worse; that doesn't make too much sense. What sort of air system amplifies bad smells?

Suddenly, there's gasping and shouting coming from the back of the plane… and then, the most awful pungent disgusting stench you can possibly imagine overwhelms the entire cabin. Someone had decided to open the overheard compartment to get something. Well, as you well-know, be careful when opening the overhead bins… items may shift during flight…

As it turns out, one very special sort of idiot boarded the plane with fish. Not a fancy wooden box of freeze-dried Canadian Salmon sort-of-thing; not the overpriced touristy last-minute gift-shop vacuum-sealed sample of the local delicacy… not a jar of herring… not a can of sardines… no, not that…

No… this was a good old-fashioned styrofoam box with a loose lid, and a fish or two thrown in it… and the styrofoam box and at least one of its occupants now found themselves on the floor of the plane. I was in the window seat, so really couldn’t see to the back; I was relying on the play-by-play of the lady on the aisle, and here are some of her comments, translated from the original, colourful Spanish:

"For the love of sweet Jesus and his sainted mother, he has a fish!"
"For God's sake, I think the fish is alive, it's moving! Oh, no, it's just that some guy is stepping on it"
"That little girl is going to be sick, I just know it, I can tell, I know these things. See, I told you"

It really is hard to describe. I mean, we've all smelled fish. We've all smelled rotten fish. But if you've ever been in a cigar tube 7 miles above the ground with no opportunity to open a window — well, it does add a whole new dimension to the experience. And add to that, the variety of sounds and smells of other people becoming ill. I recall the guy on the other side of the aisle in the "crash position" with his head between his knees. He was next.

After a lot of hysterics, things got better. They found some plastic wrap and sealed the whole mess. They sprayed some powerful, good-smelling stuff on the fish juice on the floor… and throughout the cabin. And free drinks for everyone. All good.

Thinking back on it… and I realize this was before 9/11, but still… can someone kindly explain to me how someone manages to get a box of fish onto an airplane? Was the guy at the X-ray machine asleep? Didn't care? That X-ray must have been hilarious to see, a literal fish skeleton. Hey sir, mind if we look in the box? What’s in here? Oh, fish, of course, that’s what we thought. I mean, that’s what it looked like and we could smell it a mile away… just wanted to verify! Have a great flight!

Agh.. you know, we were going to order sushi tonight. Now I’m not so sure.

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