October 12

Minneapolis, MN, USA

So, I’m in China for the next few months, and getting there is not half the fun.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t an unpleasant flight - as flights go. It just wasn’t fun. 13 hours chasing the sun the whole way, and really not being able to catch any sleep. I was in a middle seat of a 747 - row 60 (only two rows from the absolute back), and even with my noise canceling headphones in, there was just too much light, and too much going on. Drink service every 90 to 120 minutes or so.

I was between two very nice women, Jennifer and Gretchen. Both of them were flying with people who had been given upgrades to business class. Jennifer was very friendly, and told me about her children and about her friend, who is an Ex-Pat on year two of her assignment. Gretchen was less sharing, but works for “the University” as some sort of Foreign Programs coordinator.

I have an iPod, and had loaded several movies on it, so I watched some, but kept having to pause it for interruptions anyway. One of the interruptions occurred when the in-flight movie suddenly shut-off, and both Jennifer and Gretchen commented on how obnoxious it was.

First Meal - another iPod movie on pause. “Our selections for this meal are Steak or Curry Chicken,” on the PA. 20 minutes later (remember, row 60)… only Curry Chicken left. It sort of worked out. There was so much curry smell in the air, the steak would have tasted like curry. It wasn’t bad for airline food, but it wasn’t “good” either.

October 13

Flying Over North East Asia

On two of my leg stretching walks around the cabin - I took some pictures out one of the massive exit door windows. One of those - maybe two and a half hours out of landing, I got a picture of what looked like a forest fire, except on what basically looked like dark brown desert.

I give up on movies after two and a half, and finally decide maybe I’ll try to sleep for real. 10 minutes later, snack time is announced. Chinese noodle bowl (pretty much Ramen Noodles with a few “actual” vegetables). After snack, I tried to snooze a little, and then more in flight movie problems made everyone restless.

I slept for about 15 minutes. Pure exhaustion.

Meal two (also lunch). Choices this time was a Turkey and Cheese on a Pretzel roll, or some sort of Chicken and Noodle thing. I got my choice, and … the Turkey and Pretzel roll were fine, but the Cheese was really greasy making the whole meal hard to stomach.

I slept another 5 minutes - I think - then the descent starts.