I live in DC, which is a great place to live and visit. I try to make the most of it. However, I also love to leave my home and see what the world has to offer. Come and join me!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Departure for Asia, Friday 21 March 2008

What a difference DCA makes! Unlike my Dulles Debacle for my Greece trip, I left home two hours and 15 minutes before the flight, got on the metro three blocks from home, got off the metro at the airport, and voila.

I was booked into a middle seat for the long flight from Chicago to Hong Kong so I asked the woman working the desk if anything could be done about that. She said, "I'll put you in seat 55J!" and said it was an aisle. Only later would I learn of her perfidy.

I arrived in Chicago a bit paranoid because I thought it was 12:00 and my flight to Hong Kong was at 12:50 and I knew I'd never see my luggage again and I hadn't had the foresight to put any clean underwear in my carry on. Turns out, Chicago is on Central Time and my Blackberry doesn't automatically adapt itself to local time so I was fine. I got a pizza, which was no Chicago pizza but I think being in Chicago elevated the quality of the frozen airport pizza from "necessary calorie packet" to "edible."

I boarded the plane only to find that 55J is a middle seat. Darn you check-in lady! Luckily, the guy sitting next to me was nice so I didn't feel hemmed in. But because I had been changed to an "aisle" seat they didn't have my vegetarian meal request. Luckily, they had an extra one--I suspect it was supposed to have been mine in the first place but who knows. The luncheon curry was actually quite good and even came with yogurt to stand in for raita. There was fruit for dessert, of course. Just because I'm a vegetarian doesn't mean I don't want cake like everyone else! The later lunch-ish meal was stewed vegetables and a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, also not bad.

I had never taken a sleeping pill in my life before this trip but had asked my doc to write me a few Ambien because I knew I couldn't survive jet lag PLUS staying awake for 24 hours. I cannot sleep on planes unless I am at utter exhaustion so I needed some help. I took one at home just to make sure I wouldn't die of anaphylactic shock (not that this was necessarily a smart move--I live alone so there would be nobody to call 911 as my throat slowly closed) or sleepwalk (I put a large suitcase in front of the door to trip me should I try to leave the house) or sleep eat (I do enough of that while awake, apparently). I had heard it fells grown men mid-sentence so I took it after I was already laying in bed in case I lapsed into unconsciousness the instant it passed my lips. It took me half an hour to fall asleep and I was already pretty tired anyway, so I couldn't really tell if it worked.

On the plane I readied myself for sleep and took the Ambien with fear and trembling of sleep so deep I would accidentally fly back from Hong Kong to Chicago because the flight attendants wouldn't be able to wake me. Nothing!!!! Ambien sucks! I dozed off and on (mostly off) for two hours before giving up. Later I drank a mini bottle of wine and the (verboten) interaction between the two put me out for a couple of hours.

There is no seatback entertainment--boo hiss. I slept through Elizabeth and the sound on Becoming Jane was bad so they switched to No Country for Old Men. I don't watch movies with violence so no movies for me.

At one point I got up to use the bathroom and we were flying over polar ice!!! It was so cool. I didn't see any penguins marching, though.

By the time we landed my feet had swollen to twice their normal size and I really needed a shower.

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