Monday, January 31, 2011

Almost there!

My flight from San Francisco departed at 11:45 AM on Sunday, January 31. As I type this, it is 6 AM on Tuesday morning and I’m in Bangkok. I feel like I’m time traveling, yet all I’m doing is losing time.

I’m happy to say that the trip has been fairly easy so far. I’ve found ways to keep myself entertained. The main source of entertainment on the first leg of my journey (from San Francisco to Osaka, Japan) was a gentleman seated in the same row, but at the far window. When we departed, the flight crew asked everyone to please shut their blinds so that the TVs would be visible for those who wanted to watch the movies. The man at the window made it about an hour before he could no longer resist the urge to look outside. With an amazing predictability, the man opened the blind roughly every 10 minutes, and just when I would think he'd stopped (maybe 17 minutes would elapse), he’d do it again! Each time it sent a shaft of light across my screen, but rather than be upset, I was amused and I started a log. I’m not quite sure what he was looking for - the map showed us flying over water… When we did fly over land, however, somewhere towards the end along the coast of Russia, he was so excited that the window was opened about every 3 minutes and he even woke his seating partner to show her the view.

Aside from that, I had to laugh at the fact that all of my things were trapped in the overhead bins. The middle bins were so far up that I could neither open, much less close them, without standing on a seat. This wouldn’t have been a problem if I’d been able to store my backpack under the seat in front of me, but the space was occupied by a large metal box (possibly containing a life jacket). About five hours into the flight I started craving the Goldfish crackers that were stowed above a sleeping guy’s seat. After trying to figure out how I could get them myself without disturbing him, I had to ask a flight attendant for help. Starvation crisis averted.

I arrived in Osaka at 11:24 PM PST on Sunday (4:24 PM local time on Monday). I had 8 hours to burn. I rented a tiny little room with a twin size bed and about a foot of space on the left side, and rested/napped for about 3 hours. Took a shower in the shower room (for my birthright friends, it was reminiscent of the kibbutz showers but nicer, with doors, and without the squeegee). Used the rest of the time to finish Julia Child’s My Life in France and boarded the next flight.

Thai Airlines is great! There’s lots of legroom, they have a special step bar so you can reach the overhead bins, the stewardesses are dressed in beautiful “traditional” attire, and they have orchids in the bathroom! As nice as it was, I slept for most of the flight. And that brings me to where I am now – 4 hours away from my flight to Dhaka.

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