Saturday, February 2, 2008

Dim Sum good dumplings

Flat Stanley putting the moves on Hello Kitty store employees at the Taipei Airport

Back home it is 9 in the morning – I haven't a clue what time it is outside the plane right now as we cruise 35,000 feet above the Pacific ocean, my last adjustment to my watch was for LAX where it is 6am. This leg of the trip is a 13 or 14 hour flight. We're on a great big 777 run by EVA Air. If you ever get a chance to fly on an Asian airline, EVA, Thai Air etc take the opportunity and see what deregulation has done to the US air industry. All thanks to St. Ronnie the great deregulator - patron to the rich - that middle class was such a nuisanse anyway.

On the way over to LA, Continental serves us our "meal". An anemically lukewarm turkey club that looks like it is the love child of a white castle slider and an hot pocket straight from the nearest Kwik-E-Mart microwave and a fun size Milky Way bar. We are wedged three abreast in a space as wide as the back seat of a VW Bug so I am leaning into the aisle a wilted sunflower pinching my spine over like a glow stick right before it pops luminescent. Of course since I am listing into the aisle in order to have enough room to breath I get smacked by everyone trying to pass – flight attendant, running kids, and people in walkers headed to the bathroom. It's not quite as bad as a train in Marrakesh but I'm sure the seating charts were based on one. I'm getting grumpy.

Am reading an interesting book that I heard about from Amy Sparks called What is the What – by Dave Eggers. It is a chronicle of a story of one of the lost boys of the Sudan – their trek across desert, forest, against rebels, government soldiers and wild animals ending up in urban Atlanta, Tucson, Arizona and other diaspora splash downs. It is a good book to be reading on a flight such as this – a reminder that others have made much harder journeys – even so, my disposition is flagging. Flat Stanley naively grins on.

In LAX we switch to EVA Air – it is like going from a golf cart to a Mercedes. The seats are a third bigger reclining enough to actually comfortably nap (without dropping into the lap of the person behind you.) You want some extra Karma points? The next time you are on a plane and you are going to recline your seat – look back and warn the person seated to your rear. One time in my life of traveling has someone actually done this for me – an African American gentleman on a flight to San Francisco – I salute you brother traveler and raise my mini glass of orange juice with ice in your honor.

We get to our seats and are given warm towels to refresh ourselves, we are served a real hot meal, given a blanket that might have been stolen from my grandmothers davenport in Collinwood and offered beverages every 20 minutes or so by an attendant who simply quietly walks down the aisle with a tray of juices and water that you may just take at your leisure.

The cost is no more than an US carrier – the service is seven hundred and fifty three bugzillion times better. Do the math jo jo. Oh yeah – I'm typing this with no fear of my laptop battery running out because there is an out let in my seat.

Okay – next stop Taipei – where I'll roust Stanley for another photo op.


Made it here safe and sound – eating dim sum in the EVA lounge! Next stop Indonesia.

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