We flew EVA Air (a Taiwanese airline) to and from Thailand on this occasion, on an excellent business class deal. Janie and I were both hugely impressed by the quality and professionalism throughout the journey.
But on the flight home from Bangkok to Heathrow, the strangest thing happened; I was transformed into Kung Fu Pandaman.
It seemed a benign enough flight and interaction at first. Lillian, the air stewardess in the picture above, handed me, amongst other things, a pair of pyjamas for the flight. I have not worn pyjamas since escaping the clutches of my parents’ mores around 1980, so I attempted to return the pyjamas to Lillian.
On the outbound journey, my polite, “no thank you” to the air hostess was simply accepted. But when I tried similarly on the return journey with Lillian, she abruptly said, “you must have them,” and insisted that I retain the pyjamas.
Then, when clearing up after dinner, she again challenged my attempted rejection of the pyjamas. “Our pyjamas are wonderful. You will love them. In fact, you must try wearing them.” Janie captured this exchange in the picture below; it could be argued that Lillian’s entreaty came with menaces.
I asked Janie what she thought the protocol or etiquette was for donning aircraft pyjamas. Janie’s view was that these business class seats were so individual and private that I could change into the pyjamas discreetly in situ, but that if I felt self-conscious about doing that I could change in the loo.
Self-conscious – moi? Change in the loo – moi? No way and not on your nelly, respectively.
As I donned the unfamiliar garb, I felt a strange transformation coming over me. Was it my unfamiliarity with nightwear? Was it the glass of port I’d had with my cheese? Or was it a more profound transformation than that…
…suddenly I felt that I had supreme martial arts skills. Only my deep-seated good manners and concern for other travellers prevented me from releasing a bestial roar…
I rose to my feet and Janie gasped, in awe and wonderment, “oh my! It’s Kung Fu Pandaman”.
“Wham bam, thank you ma’m”, I replied; an ejaculation quite out of character for me, but not, it seems, for someone who is transforming into Kung Fu Pandaman.
I imagined that my superhero transformation was to some purpose; perhaps the plane was about to be hijacked or the pilots were all about to fall sick; something of that kind, requiring a superhero to restore calm and safety for all passengers.
But strangely, no superhero requirement was forthcoming. Which was a bit of an anticlimax.
“On second thoughts”, said Janie, “perhaps you look more like Tai Chi Pyjamaman”.
“Z/Yenshin!” I said, as I started to transform back to the reality that awaits when we land.
Tragically, when we got off the plane, I “forgot” to take my pyjamas with me, just as Janie “forgot” to take her pair too. Stewardess Lillian is no doubt still stewing over the pyjama rejection.