#2: The Airplane Hitch over Malta
This is part of a series on my travel experiences of 2015, read #1 about Albania too!
In 2015 I hitchhiked my first airplane over the Maltese islands, which was really cool in terms of getting things off my bucketlist and having seen Malta from the sea, the land and the sky – all from people’s hospitality and generosity! What’s really awesome is to go through security, not at the main entrance, but the back, where the private jets are parked. I loved hanging out in the hangars with other plane-afficionados who are painting or otherwise maintaining their jets. The 5-seater Beechcraft F33A Bonanza private plane in the pictures needed to be kickstarted with a Mini Cooper because the battery went empty after not having flown for three weeks. A car can boost it to get the propeller running. This was only a little sketchy. All together I learned a lot about flying, the lingo used for take-off and landing, traffic jams in the sky and automatic piloting.
Some of you know that I don’t take airplanes unless it’s for emergencies. I don’t really enjoy flying in the sense that most people know it: being stuck in a tin can with 200 other people while breathing recycled air and sock-smell. It’s definitely not my favorite thing in the world and I’d rather hitchhike a car or boat to get to my destination than cop-out by flying and skipping all the good parts in between. This was real hitchhiking though, so I said yes to the experience. After first meeting this seemingly friendly Frenchman in the marina close to Valetta on Malta, he offered me to go flying over Malta and a few days later he’d fly me to Montpellier in France to meet my mother before my birthday. Having a daughter my age, it all seemed fine at the time and many people in the marina knew where and with whom I was going to fly that day.
Unfortunately, my driver/pilot put his hand on my leg in-flight in a suggestive manner. Unlike in a car, you can’t just get out of a flying plane, unless you value your life very little. It makes me sad that out of the one and only airplane I’ve hitchhiked so far, I’ve got a 100% sexual harassment rate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the experience, it would have just been a lot better if people didn’t try to intimidate me into “repaying the favor”, as is excellently examplified in this article. It’s even more ridiculous that I’m now publicly apologizing for something that’s not even my fault. The world would be such a better place if people only gave women rides when their intentions are pure, unquestioning hospitality and help, whether it’s an airplane, car, truck or whatever.
Hitchhiking an airplane is off my bucketlist now. After turning him down, he obviously didn’t fly me to France in order to see my family – which I made up with by hitchhiking real fast through Sicily, Italy and Monaco. Not a day after this incident, I saw him hanging with a prostitute in the marina. I guess everybody got what they needed.