From cruising altitude it’s possible to observe the last moments of the day blink out over the horizons gentle curve. Around the Indonesian archipelago the ocean is a finely woven cloth of pink, orange and blue spotted with oily chains of islands, like drips from a spoon dispensing the continents. Above us, the shiny black night seeps downward into the vaporous pale blue sky, tinting it to a deep blue that splinters the orange thread laying over Sumatran hilltops into a red then fading brown smudge. The dark resumes its immensity.
Stars sharpen and lightly speckle the aphotic canopy. Below us, scintillating constellations of switched on lights are thrown up from cities, towns and villages settling in for the night. Thick straight lines of well-lit highways split and curl together at intersections, then stretch out between glistening territories piled up against knotty coastlines. Beyond their illuminated edge, in the bottomless expanses between landmasses, sparse islands tremble as they drift by. Inside, passengers attempting sleep in awkward contortions stir as the plane descends into Kuala Lumpur’s yellow radiance, anxious to scamper up the jet bridge and spill into the blinding terminal interior.