Flying Faster…
Than What Leonardo Could Imagine

In just over seven weeks, I will be flying to the other side of the world. I will leave from Chicago, change planes in Istanbul, Turkey and then on to Lahore, Pakistan. I will visit with my web administrator’s family and visit Lhewra Salt Mine with her brother. Then I will fly to Bangkok, Thailand and on to Yangon, Myanmar. Ask me if I’m excited.

Interestingly, when I wrote my last essay about Leonardo, I discovered in my research an interesting quote by him. “When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

We tend to dwell on Leonardo’s paintings like the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. However, his mind was a treasure-trove of ideas. We gloss over many of his other ideas and talents. One was that he was a great inventor. He wanted to invent a means by which we could fly like the birds.

Leonardo’s plane

He dreamt about flying, but he died in 1519 before he achieved that dream. Five hundred years later, I will fly 560 mph or Mach 0.84, which is considerably faster than he or any of his feathered friends could have ever imagined.

It is staggering how our perception of things change so much in a matter of five centuries. I would love to be seated next to a reincarnated Leonardo and get him to update his comment made long ago, “When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

Actually, it isn’t so much about rewriting his wisdom, but it is about gleaning from him another more up to date perspective on human flight. I’ll tell Leonardo about my family and how much they mean to me. This will be the third trip in a half a dozen years to Taunggyi and the area around Inle Lake where my family lives. I wonder how Leonardo will respond to my feelings about my three granddaughters and their parents.

I surely will talk about Myanmar. Leonardo will sit through my descriptions of various cities that I have seen and hundreds of pagodas. He will hear about Inle Lake and tomatoes being grown on the lake. He will hear about how much I would like to interview Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. If he doesn’t interrupt me too much, I will be able to explain those issues about the time we land in Istanbul ten hours after taking off.

Once we are up again far above the clouds, I will tell him about Moh Moh and Ko Ko, who where my tour guides on the previous trip. Somewhere over Turkmenistan, I’ll begin my one-way discussion about Ti Ti, Snow, and Fatty, who are my three granddaughters. I’ll go on and on about Ti Ti. We played Scrabble when we first met six years ago. I’ll talk about writing poetry to each other, her magic tricks, and her being brilliant.

Snow was only four on my first trip, but when I returned, she was six. I’ll talk about the games we played and laughing together. Leonardo will surely hear about Snow and me holding hands and shopping at Ocean Supercenter in Taunggyi.

Then there is Fatty. She was a two-year-old toddler when we first met. On my second trip, she invented a name that she calls me. Ti Ti and Snow call me PaPa Al. Fatty dismissed that as being passé. Instead, she addresses me as Bo Bo Gyi, who was a famous Buddhist nat or what we would call a saint. Actually, when she calls me that name, anyone within a hundreds can hear her. Fatty is a livewire in their family.

Surely, my family and I will visit Ocean Supercenter again. If Fatty starts calling me Bo Bo Gyi, all the locals will believe that I am the recent reincarnation of the first Bo Bo Gyi. They will surely treat me like royalty.

Bo Bo Gyi

It would be a gross understatement if I said to Leonardo that my family changed my Weltanschauung. That word isn’t a Burmese word but the German word for worldview. However, there are two problematic issues about my return trip to be with my family again. I’ll tell Leonardo that I had to leave Ginger at my home and have a high school gal dog sit her. That is one major setback. The other issue is that my trip overseas will take nearly sixty hours in the air, which is two and a half days flying.

If I can express to Leonardo that flying is extremely time consuming to get there and back, maybe, he would invent a faster means for my next flight to Myanmar.