Wednesday, July 18, 1990

We circle Beograd for thirty minutes before dropping precipitously to land on the runway.

The Mission Impossible aesthetic and my lack of sleep have reinforced my nervous excitement about this grand adventure that I've undertaken and which is really about to begin soon - this final leg of the plane ride is the limits of the known - everything that happens after I step off the plane will be something else.

So, picture this:

The very instant the wheels of our airplane touch the runway, the cabin, which has been silent as an icy tomb the whole trip, now instantly FILLS UP with a loud SWELLING muzak string-orchestra version of John Lennon's "Imagine" - just a scant (but very affecting) ten seconds' worth - then the Mission Impossible PA system crackles to life as the captain announces (does he sound relieved?) that we've landed in Beograd - and as soon as his voice cuts off - immediately the cabin again SWELLS with the orchestral strains of a muzak "Amazing Grace."

I can't help helping thinking (a) about the rivets, and (b) what have I gotten myself into?