A bou­quet and ban­quet in the air

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - KATH­LEEN WHIT­TLE

We had cel­e­brated our 50th wed­ding an­niver­sary. The trip it­self, 12 weeks tour­ing Alaska and Canada, plus a sur­prise party given by our Van­cou­ver friends, were quite enough.

So we agreed there would be no gifts, not even cards, es­pe­cially since the ac­tual an­niver­sary would be spent on a trans-Pa­cific flight from Seat­tle to Seoul. Maybe we would in­dulge in a spe­cial din­ner dur­ing our South Korean stopover, or so we thought.

Un­for­tu­nately, my hus­band, Alvin, suf­fered a last­minute at­tack of guilt. Con­se­quently, I was awak­ened mid-flight by the pre­sen­ta­tion of a mini-bou­quet of yel­low car­na­tions. How ro­man­tic and ab­so­lutely gor­geous and ... mys­ti­fy­ing.

Then I re­mem­bered the air­craft loo had sported just such a flo­ral dis­play the pre­vi­ous evening.

Ever the prag­ma­tist, I en­vi­sioned try­ing to ex­plain my gift to air­port quar­an­tine. Sadly, it would have to go back.

I hid it be­hind by hand­bag and headed for the de­nuded loo. It was en­gaged, of course.

“Mrs. Whit­tle, come this way. This other toi­let is un­oc­cu­pied,” the cabin at­ten­dant of­fered.

I in­sisted on re­main­ing by the flow­er­less loo and she was not at all happy. Un­be­known to me, she ap­proached my hus­band. “Is Mrs. Whit­tle OK?’’ she asked. He felt com­pelled to con­fess.

“You should have told us,” she said. “We would have had a spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion. But we can sing for you. What kind of mu­sic would your wife en­joy?” It seems tra­di­tional jazz was not in the Korean reper­toire.

Seven years on, I still trea­sure a card signed by all the cabin crew. We won­der if we will ever re­turn to Seoul for that cel­e­bra­tory din­ner.

Be­cause, af­ter con­sum­ing the con­tents of an air­line bag that must have held all the leftover packs of nib­bles, washed down with a com­pli­men­tary bot­tle of French cham­pagne, we couldn’t have eaten another morsel.

Not long now to our 60th. Look out, Canada, the US and Korea. Send your 400-word con­tri­bu­tion to Fol­low the Reader: travel@theaus­tralian.com.au. Colum­nists re­ceive a set of men’s botan­i­cal skin­care prod­ucts from The Aro­mather­apy Com­pany in­clud­ing face and body balm, nat­u­ral soap bar, hair and body wash, face cream and shav­ing cream. $120.70. More: shop.david­jones.com.au.

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