Tuesday, January 17, 2006


I apologise for the gap in posting; let me plead pressure of work. Being honest however I have to admit that it's not just pressure of work, sometimes one just can't think of something worthwhile writing about. That or I can think of something to write about and realise I've beaten that horse to death. Hence the lack of new posts about the drive from Manila to Baguio!

I find it interesting that I feel the pressure. When I look at my page view stats I reckon I have maybe a dozen regular readers. In the world of the syndicated journalist that would be beneath contempt but I'm not a syndicated journalist. In my world my dozen regular readers are my friends even if I've only ever met two of you (you know who you are).

I reckon I've finally learned how to do international travel. I've done it 30 or 40 times (I've lost count) and up until now I've always found economy difficult. Just how does one sleep in a narrow seat where ones knees bump against the seat in front of one? Yep, you can kinda slide your feet under the seat in front and lean the seat back about 7 degrees but even so it's an unnatural position to be in. I've usually arrived somewhat strung out and ready for sleep. Not always a wise idea if it's early afternoon local time but your body is insisting that it's midnight!

Domestic flights are easier; usually undertaken during the time one would normally be awake anyway and of relatively short duration. Even those can be a pain though; I well remember the flight I took from Melbourne to Perth in 1993. I was stuck in the middle seat first row. The fat bastard on my left was eating peppermints the entire 4 hours of the flight and the fatter bastard on my right farted the entire trip. Indeed, if they could have found a way to harness fart power I reckon that fat bastard might have been able, single arsedly, to have averted the entire Ansett Airlines bankruptcy. It was quite the olfactory experience!

So to my flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo on Sunday last. You'll remember that I had my doubts about it, not just from the fact that it was on an airline that isn't a member of the Star Alliance. Hey, if I have to fly I might as well get frequent flyer points so I joined Northwest Airlines World Perks.

No, my major reservation was the discomfort of 747 style economy. That and the fact that we'd be chasing the sun. When I did LA to Seoul a year ago my major recollection is of how long the flight seemed. We left LA in daylight and arrived in Seoul 13 hours later in daylight and never saw the night. Would have felt normal except that we left LA about 4 in the afternoon so the day felt like it was 38 hours long.

Well this time I managed to sleep most of the flight. It might have helped that I spent a very pleasant Saturday night drinking red wine and went to bed about 1:30 AM Sunday. Awake at 5:30 AM and not, perhaps, completely recovered from a night of drinking. Heck, I'm flying, what need of perfect wits? As long as you can smile pleasantly at the TSA (Transport Security Administration) person and put up with their idiotic requirements...

Thus onto the first flight, America West to LA. At LA I took the opportunity to take a piece of Key Lime pie and a hot choccy at Starbucks before surrendering my ability to light up a smoke. Of course the departure was delayed an hour! Fortunately I was travelling with Steve, who doesn't smoke now but who used to and therefore understands. This is significant because it meant I didn't have to carry my laptop with me; I could leave it with him. You wouldn't believe how much of a difference that makes! (Back to TSA insanity).

Then onto the flight to Tokyo. It's about this time that we finally get to the point of this post. Because I managed to sleep, fitfully, through about three quarters of the flight! This, for me, is a breakthrough. It might have been a one off had it just been that flight but I managed to sleep for more than three quarters of the flight from Tokyo to Manila. Indeed, I was sleeping when we touched down at Manila and the poor bastard sitting next to me had to awaken me so he could deplane!

Let's see if I can manage the same trick on the flight back to the US. I suspect, given that I'll be starting the flight at about the twenty six hour point of awakeness, that it'll be a doddle to sleep all the way back to greencard hell and secondary inspection!

No comments: