I have stumbled across a terrific method for those of you who would like to give up the dreaded weed. It's a little bit expensive, but I guarantee it will, at the very least, give you pause for thought. Perhaps the best way to describe this procedure is to outline my own experience, which is as follows:
We took off from Singapore at 9.30 p.m. on a Boeing 777 - a very nice plane that, apparently, to its maker's credit, does not have the habit of falling out of the sky for no reason at all. Its only downside is that it tends to vibrate and emit high-pitched whistling noises inside the passenger compartment, playing havoc with anyone, such as myself, who suffers from industrial tinnitus.
As we took off, an older, Muslim woman sitting beside the Titanium Princess decided that the only way this creaking, whistling hulk would get into the air was if she began praying and keening as volubly and rapidly as possible. She began to execute that strange, up-and-down bowing of the head at which the faithfull are so adept, all the while giving the little set of prayer beads in her hand a fucking good shake. It was a most impressive performance, and, to my surprise, Allah must have been listening, because the 777 climbed into the air, albeit with the grace of a teenager climbing all over his girlfriend.
Next, we flew for seven hours in this thing, which was packed to the rafters, or gunwhales, or whatever the avionic equivalent is. As we approached Dubai, the pilot must have decided, right at the most critical moment (i.e., about four hundred feet above the landing-strip), that he had had it up to here with flying fucking aeroplanes, and obviously just threw up his hands and said "Fuck it, I'm sick of this shit, somebody get me a real job.", because the plane promptly dropped out of the sky like a brick onto the tarmac with an awful, terrifying 'BANG', did a couple of doughnuts, and slid to a stop with a gigantic groaning sound.
The intercom came on, and the pilot announced "Ladies and Gentlemen - you can stay in the plane or get out; I don't give a fuck - I'm outta here", (or something like it - I'm not good at taking in messages when I'm vomiting over Muslims). To no-one's surprise, there was a general exodus at a very sharp pace, and it wasn't long before we were safely ensconced in the terminal. I needed a smoke - badly.
Now, here's where it all gets interesting. Dubai airport is approximately two-thirds the size of the Republic of Ireland, and has a population of several million, all of whom smoke like chimneys. To accommodate these people's addiction, the airport has generously donated a room of precisely eight by four metres for anyone in the terminal who would like to enjoy a gaffer. And get this: it is the only room in the entire, palacious kingdom that is neither air-conditioned or sports an extraction fan. I walked into this room to light up, and immediately had the impression that I was being force-fed tar through every orifice in my body. Stupidly, I ignited a cigarette.
By the time I had staggered out of Dante's little shoe-box hell, my brain was reeling with the Turkish tobacco industry's yearly quota of nicotine. I resolved, then and there, to give the filthy habit away.
We got back on the plane, which had been hastily repaired (there was still a bit of wet epoxy around the tail-fin area), and to my horror, I realised I was walking behind the new pilot, who was obviously only twelve years old. I leant over to the TP and whispered "Let's help that old Muslim lady out, and pray like fuck as well."
Surprisingly, our new pilot turned out to be a gem, and we landed in Istanbul some five hours later with a touchdown like the kiss of a brand-new mother. All I can say is "Allah akh-something."
Gotta go - it's time for a fag.