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Travel Journal

Flying after the Sun
by Helena

Flying to La Reunion from Hong Kong is like drinking a glass of champagne facing an endless sunset. La Reunion is a small island lost in the South Indian Ocean, a French outre-mer department. Flying from the west to the east in a game of hide-and-seek with the sun. Six hours after departure from Hong Kong at 4:00 p.m. , the sun still takes its golden steps everywhere in the airplane.

Different from other international airplanes, which are tightened by stress and anxiety, this plane is fulfilled and smiling. Tropical aromas, relaxed chatting and loud laughing make this flight like a delicious time on the Braham beach. My neighbour, a lady in bright green leaves and purple orchid, is feeding her bird-like daughter.

“Eat, eat, ma petite bird! You will grow like a plum tree!”

“I don’t want to be a plum tree. I just want to be like you: wearing long flowering dresses everywhere I go.”

“You will, ma petite! You will be the most beautiful princess of Vanilla in the whole island. And, you will marry a rich and handsome prince of Sucre-Cane.”

“No, I just want to marry with my Daddy!”

This secret conversation sweetens my heart. The people of La Reunion, living a life of simplicity and meaningfulness, are adored by the golden sun and the blue ocean and passionate volcano.

“Oh la la! La petite Chinoise! My girlfriend has the same eyes as yours. She left me 2 months ago. I was crying from sunset to sunrise…” A tall young good-looking man, wiggling to the music of the island, opens his hands to me and says, “Be my girlfriend just for this flight?”

“Gone to Hong Kong to visit your girlfriend?” I asked, “A Chinese?”

“Bright you are!” The young man sat down on the passage way beside me. “Can I sit here?”

“As long as you don’t block the others.”

“I want to know a bit more about you Chinese. You are from a culture of simplicity and spontaneity, but you are not simple at all! I met Fleur in a Chinese Healing Art seminar in Saint-Denis of La Reunion. She was teaching us the Chinese Traditional Way of Life and Happiness.”

“Is Fleur your girlfriend?”

“I hope she would always be. But she said she could never be my girlfriend.”

“Strange,” I begin to be attracted by the story. “Has she someone?”

“No! That isn’t the point. She told me because she was too old. She is 34, and I am 22.”

I am really amazed by this handsome man-like boy. How lucky Fleur is! My voice was softened by the sprinkling diamonds in his brown eyes. “Do you work in Saint-Denis?”

“I am in my second year of studying medicine . Fleur lives in Paris. I proposed to her to wait for me another two years. After finishing my studies, I can work as a doctor in Paris.” The young man’s eyes began twinkling again.

 “She is really the woman for me, and she is in love with me too. I can’t get the point! I sent presents and cards to her in Paris, but she even didn’t open them and returned them all to my address with one word —Forget me and forgive me!

 “You met her in Hong Kong this time?”

“I learned that she had a seminar in Hong Kong. I flew there to make my mind clear. I spent all of my summer savings. It is easier for me to fly to Hong Kong than to Paris.”

 “Did you see her?”

 “Yes. She said nothing, only crying. I don’t know why an excellent teacher teaching ‘the only thing does not change is the change itself’ can be so firmed.”

“Maybe it is difficult for her to image her life with you in 12 and 24 years after,” I try to comfort him. “She doesn’t want to hurt you and hurt herself.”

“But she taught us to enjoy the life at the present!”

The present. What is the present? Flying from the East to the West, the sunshine is endless, and the present, too, is endless.