Coach Holly here, reporting, live and well (fed) from northern New Jersey, folks! I think travel inspires me to write Fortunately/Unfortunately posts, so here’s a peek at Sunday’s travels:
Fortunately, modern technology (and the trick of time zones) allows me to wake up in Singapore, and go to sleep later (much, much, MUCH later) the same day in New Jersey. Only 24 hours of travel are involved. Living far from family is hard; airplanes make it much, much easier.
Unfortunately, I must wake up at 3 AM in Singapore to make this trick happen.
Fortunately, I can step out of our apartment in Singapore at 4 AM and hail a cab off the street. When we first moved, we’d pay the extra money to book early morning cabs in advance. Then, we realized there was really no need for that. Available cabs are much easier to find at 4 AM than at 8 PM!
Unfortunately, I left my adorable husband sleeping in bed. I miss that crazy dude!
Fortunately, my first flight (to Hong Kong) was very, very empty. I had two empty seats next to me! (Although I would have happily traded the empty seat if I could have had KMN with me.)
Unfortunately, that flight was only 3 hours.
Fortunately, Transfer Security in Hong Kong was completely empty. Usually, it’s a little nutsy, but I was they only person there this time. And I didn’t even have to unload every.single.electronic.device from my bag (this is normally what happens to me in Hong Kong, for some strange reason).
Unfortunately, my second flight was totally packed.
Fortunately, I promptly got trapped in the middle of the plane when the first pass of the drink cart started while I was in the restroom. I got to stand for a solid 15 minutes, bouncing and stretching, without being told to return to my seat. YAY!
Unfortunately, another American in the same predicament complained and sighed about it. Some people will complain about anything! I tried to keep him distracted with some idle chatting – turns out he works in China, and he asked me how long I’d been visiting Asia. When he learned I lived in Singapore, he contributed this annoying quip: “Well, those of us who live in China think you folks in Hong Kong and Singapore are cheating.” Thanks for that unsolicited opinion, sir. For your information, I’m not living in Singapore to put some Asian feather in my American cap. But thanks for the judgment. Happy Thanksgiving!
Fortunately, my seatmates were calm and quiet, and I passed an uneventful 14 hours napping, watching one episode each of NCIS, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, and whatever other crime shows were on offer, as well as Monsters University (cute!). I also read Drift, a mature young adult novel co-written by Steph Campbell and former classmate of mine Liz Reinhardt. Nothing too deep, but these ladies have become my go-to for a light, fun in-flight read.
Unfortunately, the overly salty in-flight food on United’s international flights is becoming increasingly gross to me.
Fortunately, I came in armed with plenty of my own snacks. NO, not the Tim Tams pictured in my packing post – I brought apples, granola bars, trail mix, Oreos, and some salty-but-at-least-tasty snack mix.
Unfortunately, there weren’t very many water walk-throughs.
Fortunately, there’s a secret water stash at the back of the plane (big bottles of water and little cups). I just brought my bottle back and refilled it. Repeatedly. Hydration is important on long haul flights!
Unfortunately, our descent into Newark was a little bumpy. Although it didn’t seem particularly unusual to me, both the people sitting next to and behind me used their air sickness bags. I get sympathetically nauseous, so I hope they weren’t *too* offended that I closed my ears and eyes.
Fortunately, the immigration, baggage collection, and customs process took less than 25 minutes. Easy, breezy on a Sunday afternoon, for some reason. And from this point forward, my “Unfortunatelies” disappear!
My parents were waiting for me (with more snacks and fresh water!), and the drive home was uneventful. I went for a short run – which was chilly, but invigorating and awesome, then took a MUCH NEEDED shower. Seriously. The shower after 24 hours of travel is beautiful. Then we enjoyed a delicious dinner of roast chicken, salad, and pierogies. [Gotta work a little Polish tradition in there somehow!]
And from there, it’s been Thanksgiving preparation, a bit of running, a lot of eating, and the perfectly usual jet-lagged sleep schedule of 11 PM – 2:30 AM and 5 AM – 9 AM. Sure, why not?
I won’t be taking an extended Thanksgiving blogging break, so you’ll see plenty of me around here in the coming week – but I would like to wish safe travel to those of you traveling in the coming days, especially if you’re traveling along the eastern seaboard. And if your travel plans involve airplanes and airports, breathe deeply and remember:
“The test of good manners is to be patient with the bad ones.”
-Solomon ibn Gabirol (poet and philosopher)
If you could watch one TV show for the entirety of a long flight, what would it be?
Fill in the blank: “On my ideal international flight, every meal service would consist of only ____________________.” (one food item ONLY!)