Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Window Seat

(PICTURE: A Lady Who Asked Me To Take Her Picture The Other Day)

I'm sitting in seat 43A on Dragonair flight 895 to Hong Kong. I'm not sure, but I'd put pretty good money on it that the woman next to me is the Chinese Fran Drescher. Her voice could not be more annoying and she has literally not stopped talking for two hours to her friends across the aisle. Actually that isn't totally true. She's taken a few breaks from her ramblings to spit into the vomit bag. This may seem slightly vile but in comparison to most people in China it's quite civil. The mentality here is that the sidewalks are one giant communal Kleenex, free to spit on. Even worse than the constant irritating chatter is that her elbows are out of control and she has nailed me in the chest at least eight time—including seconds after I finally dozed off earlier.

Okay, she's now reading my computer screen so lets just hope she doesn't understand English. Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it….no reaction. Good, I can keep typing. Not awkward at all.

Getting to the Shanghai Airport this morning was an adventure. I jumped on the subway at 7AM since I was told that it would not be crowded. This was simply not true. Not even close to being true. I managed to squeeze onto the train with my giant twenty two kilogram bag. I got plenty of looks from the morning commuters for taking up valuable metro space. However, I didn't feel too bad because right next to me was a guy with a bike. But he had prime real estate up against a wall. I was stuck smack in the middle of everyone. Eventually I got to the maglev train – the world's fastest train – and took an eight minute ride to the airport. I checked in for my flight and then made a few calls with my Chinese calling card. I talked with Mom (Dad was at a Town Council meeting), Grandma (I talked with Nanny last week on her birthday) and Zev. Unfortunately my sister/sub-in-blogger screened her call and didn't pick up. Apparently she doesn't like calls from China.

Well, I'll be landing in Hong Kong soon. I'm excited to see the city (wait, is it or is it not its own country? I'm confused on what happened when Britain left in '97. I'd look this up on wikipedia but it's one of the blocked sites in China) but I'm getting very antsy to finally get to Vietnam. Every day I email with my Vietnamese best friend Hien (her name means crocodile in Vietnamese but from what I can tell she's pretty harmless) who works at the school I'll be getting TEFL certified through. Hien is picking me up at the airport on Friday and taking me to lunch with some of her coworkers. Then that night we're going to the Languagecorps graduation dinner for the past class. The point is, Vietnam is on the horizon and I couldn't be more excited…I just have to remember not to overlook Hong Kong.

(Editor's Note: I didn't screen the call, I just didn't hear my phone. But in Ben's defense if I had heard my phone I probably would have screened it.)