Normbrero

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Day 1: The Plane

Arriving to the airport helps you mentally take a big step in seeing the trip from something that cost money to something you now see as a reality. When you step into the airport it's real. Then you see the long line and say, "Yeah, this is going to be a long flight." But then, you paid for Deluxe Economy, which is like a cheeseburger Royale, or whatever the Pulp Fiction line is. So you go right to the line for your class which has exactly 1 person in front of you. Nice! I can't imagine the service you get if you pay for Business Class.

Due to the high winds the flight was delayed 45 minutes and since it took all of 10 minutes to check in we had nearly 2.5 hours to burn. We started by going up and down escalators then riding the air train from terminal to terminal then getting some fries. That got us to 9:30 and boarding was10:35 so we decided to go into the terminal and out of the main concourse area to try and burn some more time.


Inside the terminal we found out it was further delayed to a 10:50 boarding. Thankfully Julia had sacked out until 5:30 that afternoon so we weren't worried about her losing it. I got my traditional pre-flight beer which helps me deal with the fact that deep down I really don't like flying that much, especially when the high winds have the whole airport delayed an hour. Sadly all they had other than crap was Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. Surprisingly it was really tasty. Even Nat thought it was good. I guess we were both ripe for a drink. To recap, the flight still hadn't started yet.

As a side note, the copy and paste made all the sentences run together, so if you see 2 words together likethis you know I missed it in edit. I'm posting this while Julia naps on day 2 and I'm on 3.5 hours of sleep over the last 40. So I might miss some stuff.


1:35 and she's finally asleep. Hard to believe she made it that far with no complaints. I don't mean little complaint I mean none at all. She's a really good kid and when she gets tired she just deals with it. Then she fades and she's out. I guess this is a little of why we're expecting this to be a reasonable (not easy) flight. But then, we still have 18 hours until we land.

So the little green leprechauns, a name I used on the stewardesses on our2001 trip here, hooked me up with 2 monster cups of red wine so right now I'm floating above the continent in several different ways. The plane is new, and the state of the airlines in 2008 is much better than it was in2002. The food was pretty good, and the cake and rice pudding were actually quite enjoyable.
I'm loving this interactive TV thing. We all have touch screen TVs which allow us to watch whatever we want. I always love the map thing. They had that on previous flights but now I can dial it in on demand. Currently we're already past Chicago. Not bad given that we only left 2 hours ago.


Holy shit I just found this stuff:

Distance Travelled: 1066 mi
Distance to Destination: 2372 mi
Outside Air Temperature: -54
Time to Destination: 4:32
Ground Speed: 559 mi/h
Altitude: 33998 ft

That's just a subset of what we have available. This is friggin awesome!Maybe all this real cash money didn't go to waste on this airline ticket.


OK it turns out that we're approaching Winnipeg already, well past Chicago.If I zoom in further, I see that we're just passed Sioux Lookout, Canada.I'd live to know the history of that place.
Oh, feels like we're slowing down. Julia just stirred. She probably not going to sleep remarkably all night. So it goes. I better try to get some sleep. The tough part is still ahead of us, to say the least.

6:00 am now. I'm still using our time to give an idea how far along we are. I slept for the last hour and most of the last 2. Maybe 2.5 in total at best. Julia has been asleep the whole time but woke up a lot before 4:00. Since then, she's been pretty quiet. Nat tried to put her on the floor on a little bed I made but that didn't go over well. We have the first row of the section so there's more room for her. People with kids get the front row.

We'll be down in Anchorage in another 190 miles which won't take very long, 25 minutes according to the Info Map. Not sure how that's going to go over with Julia. My guess is not well at first. But she'll have 5 hours of sleep under her belt by then. Not a lot but hopefully enough to be able to deal with the layover. No idea how long the second flight is. I guess about 12 hours.
Had a meal when we got on the plane which wasn't so bad. Pork in some sauce, roasted potatoes, mixed veggies, fake seafood salad, fruit, roll, and cake. That was when I had the red wine. In all it didn't do much to help me sleep. Not a lineup that will make you say wow but not bad for airline fare.

Got to check out now and play some video games while I have a few minutes. This is going to be the tough part soon.

7:30 am EST now, but that's before the time change. So my time is all whacked out. Suffice to say we left the house 12 hours ago and that's where we are. I feel surprisingly refreshed but I can see my writing is getting strung out and mundane. When I describe airplane food I know things are scrambled in my brain. Just about halfway there, all told.

I had a cup of complimentary coffee, called my mom, then took a leak and suddenly it was time to get back on the plane. We let Julia sleep as long as we could so they kicked us off, the last passengers to get off. Why get off first when you're just going to sit around an airport? The layover was effectively 30 minutes. Back on the plane in no time and another 9:15 of official flight time. Using my keen Batman powers, that gets us to Taipei at about 6:15 am. Even though we left 1:45 late we seem to be just about on time. They must have used high octane on the way out.

10:00 am and the 2 of us are on the floor playing with an Elmo flap book. She's really starting to need some hard-core real-life entertainment. She's not even that interested in the TV much anymore. She gets mad if we play video games. The ETA has slipped and now we're 7:35. So the 9:15 flight has been bumped to 10:35. I guess wind is a huge factor, or they ran out of super gas.
We've gone 1198 miles from Alaska and still 3661 until Taipei. They served us a Jimmy Dean breakfast bagel with egg and cheese. I'm tired but doing ok. Nat is zonked, sleeping. And Julia just fell asleep on her lap in the 5 minutes it took me to write this. I wonder if I should try to nap as well. I think I have BO. Actually I know I do.

Instead I played video games for an hour. I'm kicking ass at Zuma.


I should also not that the 7:30 arrival time is 6:30 pm our "old" time, just for reference. That's making the door-to-door trip look like 24-25 hours or so. I'm sure none of this is terribly clear but I'm tired so cut me some slack.

4:20 pm by our old clock. Got in an hour of sleep and feel refreshed. Maybe 3.5 hours total in the last 36, and it's going to need to last another 16 or so. May need to nap. Feeling surprisingly good but I know from past trips it won't last. Julia zonked out for another 3.5 so that's 9 total hours of sleep for her, all on Nat's lap. Nat is going to crash later.

The sun is rising to our left. It now becomes clear how colossally large this 777 engine is. Crazy what modern engineering can do. Crazy what a semi-delirious mind will write as "vacation notes" at this stage of the game. I feel bloated, dehydrated, full, and constantly hungry all the time. The symptoms of being really tired. Oh, and the video game Zuma got me through this trip. On my return trip I plan on playing it for 12 hours.

In the home stretch now. Less than 90 minutes until we hit the ground. Still another 90 after that to call it a trip if we're lucky, maybe 2.5 if we're unlucky. This has been a long entry but really it reflects the sick long trip this is to get there. I feel like our neighbor Graham dropped us off at the airport a week ago at this point. One brain can only take so much.

That may be about all for this writeup. If you got this far give yourself a pat on the back and consider what the actual journey is like. But then, we have some vacation ahead so it's all good at this point. The line to the bathroom is longer than this post. Jesus Christ people get a move on.
6:05 on the ground (7:05 local time). Out of the airport by 6:45. Back at Calvin's apartment at 7:45. All told, the door-to-door trip took 24 hours,15 minutes.

Wow that was rough. But I'll be damned if I'm going to go edit it any more than I did. Time for a nap.

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2 Comments:

  • At 10:53 PM, Anonymous terren said…

    Thanks for the awesome recap... how did Julia do on the homestretch? I guess she was manageable or that would have made it into the writeup.

     
  • At 5:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow. I think it would take me the first two days of the vacation to recover from the trip there. Toughness training. Or something.

    Hope you folks have a great time!
    -ChrisG

     

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