Throwback Thursday: Flying to the Maya World

I had flown on a plane this size only once before, and it was disastrous for my father’s plaid shirt which he offered as I got sick. This plane to Tik’al in Guatemala could carry six passengers, light luggage and a pilot.

I took a deep breath. Air travel was a big part of the trip expense to see major Maya pyramids, but it saved us two full days and over 400 miles round trip by bus. I could do this. Sitting in the first passenger row next to my friend M, she smiled and I smiled back. Then, I saw the pilot cross himself.

Oh my…we’re going to die…

Flight in Guatemala Photo: R. Cuningham

If the pilot wasn’t sure of his abilities…. A little over an hour flying felt like a lot longer. Thankfully I was not sick. The clincher was once the three wheels touched down, all the passengers began to clap. Relieved to be back on the ground? Were we that close to disaster? M applauded along with four Guatemalan passengers and she gave me the stink eye until I did the same.

A friend who lives in Mexico assures me clapping at landing is normal. Upon reflection, asking for the blessing of the creator upon departure and thanking the pilot for a safe journey are cultural touchstones I admire.

Stories about Tikal temples next Thursday!

Any plane ride stories you’d like to share?

¡Olé! –Rebecca

Rebecca Cuningham

30 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Flying to the Maya World

  1. The only kind of flights I ever really enjoyed were the ones with lots of fresh air, like the helicopter flights in Vietnam with both doors open. Also I once rode in a small observation plane where I was sitting right behind the pilot, with both of my elbows sticking out the open windows on both sides.
    But otherwise I can’t stand flying, and I haven’t flown at all since 2005.
    (I currently have no need to fly, since I am here already.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Clapping at landing is quite normal. (And my wife, who’s Colombian, crosses herself whenever we take the car outside the city…)
    I did fly that plane. Impressive… Part of the fun…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Aside from a helicopter ride I took over the Grand Canyon when I was a kid, I’ve only ever flown commercial planes. Give or take some being a bit smaller than others, I haven’t had anything too wild happen while on the flight, bar some turbulence. Your flight to Tikal sounds thrilling; can’t wait to hear what you did there in the next post (Tikal’s on my bucket list)!

    Liked by 1 person

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