Wednesday, April 01, 2009

FBO: 'Hotelicopter'

Someone with a lot of time on their hands, and a bit too invested in The Onion perhaps, has concocted a slightly humorous joke of -- a flying helicopter based on a mammoth Soviet 'copter to allow travelers to overnight in luxury rooms. It's easy, fun and you get to skip the '$8 sandwiches' and 'long security lines' of airports. Apparently some people believed it, mocked by Wired magazine blog.

I've never slept on a helicopter, but I did ride in a Soviet one a couple times. Once was in the mid 90s when I traveled from Saigon to Con Dao Island, a gorgeous place that was a prison camp during the French and American wars in Vietnam. The ride was super fun. The pilot -- visible from our seats -- pointed to giant headphones (1976 DJ, or 2004 hipster) to 'block out sound.' I could smell fuel and tried to read through the warning signs in Russian. When we began elevating, the pilot clicked on music in our headphones -- a mix straight from the late 1970s, with secondary Bee Gees songs and French disco.

A few years ago in Kamchatka, Russia [pictured on board, left] -- the peninsular volcano zone dangling across the Bering Strait from Alaska -- I joined some Swiss tourists who had hired a Soviet military helicopter to go out for the day volcano-spotting and track down a reindeer herd shepherded by nomads. Stunning views. In a green field between isolated snow-capped peaks, we eventually located a storm of reindeer, moving and grazing in a wide frightening circle. Maybe 1000 of them. We landed, helped the nomads make a teepee-type structure, started a fire and had some tea. They offered to kill a reindeer for us, but we refused.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY


Bronc said...

... When someone offers to kill a reindeer for you, you let 'em.

THE FBO said...

I have a real reindeer Christmas ornament -- someone gave it to me in Yakutsk, Russia. They eat reindeer there all the time.