Posted by: Brian | March 7, 2009


Aboard Flight AA1636, SAT>DFW:

I’m in a state of near-disbelief. My trip has started – finally. After two and a half months spent at home, staying in my house while everyone else returned to school, amusing myself by reading the news for several hours each day (and subsequently reading fiction for many hours afterward), everything is paying off.

I feel a little silly calling this a journey, but in some ways it is. I’m flying 9,000 miles across the world, to a city I’ve never seen, located in a country I’ve never been to, where the vast majority of people speak a language with which I’ve only got two years of classroom experience, and most of that currently forgotten.

More on that in a bit. San Antonio to Dallas is a very short flight, and the stewardess is already asking us to put electronics away.

At Dallas (Sort of):

We landed half an hour ago… and I’m still on the plane. Our gate is blocked, and the plane/flight/crew doing the blocking seems to be in no hurry to rectify the situation. Wait, we’re finally moving! Finally! No. Crap, the pilot says we’re only getting out of someone else’s way.

Who loves American Airlines? I love American Airlines! Grrr.


Now I can get off… this stewardess is absurd. “Please watch your step as you get off the plane, there’s no ramp.” For the love of all that’s holy, we’re in Dallas, not the middle of nowhere.

Aboard Flight AA1405, DFW>SFO:

Thanks to the lovely delay, I just scarfed down my dinner – a double cheeseburger, courtesy of McDonalds – while power-walking in between gates. My seat on the flight to San Francisco is tucked way, way in the back of the plane, but it’s directly behind the galley, so I’ve got extra legroom. *High five.*


I named this guy Jasper the Jet Engine...

I named this guy Jasper the Jet Engine...

I take back the thing about the legroom, because the noise from being RIGHT NEXT TO THE ENGINE balances it out to a slight overall negative. Oh, and now they want to sell me a cookie for four dollars… fantastic.

I’ve been working on a music review for Independent Clauses, a website I write for. Reason by Monork To Die was an interesting album, and you might like it if you’re into Weezer-esque tunes. I’m finished with the review and don’t feel like listening to anything else, but I’m keeping my earphones in just for the noise-cancelling they provide. Stupid engine.


I’m watching The Office, season two. I know I’m late to the game on this one, but I don’t care.

At San Francisco:

The approach to the San Francisco airport was like a roller coaster, the turbulence was so bad. I have never been close to nausea aboard an airplane, or so glad to be back on the ground. On a positive note, I had the pleasure of sitting beside a professor from the University of New Mexico, and he made for very pleasant conversation.


Is it odd that I’m only in San Francisco and already I feel as though I’m in a foreign country? Admittedly, that’s mostly because I’m in the international terminal. There are Chinese and Indians, Thais and Cambodians. I’ve seen a grand total of two other white people waiting at my gate. I don’t want to sound as though I’m uncomfortable, just… unfamiliar. It’s awesome, though.

The time is currently 11:13pm in San Francisco and 1:13am in San Antonio; the latter is more relevant since that’s where I started. Even though my flight is quite long, I’m arriving in Hong Kong at 6:55am local time. Here’s hoping I get in some decent sleep between now and then.

Aboard Flight CX0760, SFO>HKIA:

You know what I love? All the Cathay Pacific employees are young and attractive. Hooray for a lack of unionization or any non-discrimination rules based on age.


This flight is sooooo long. 7,000 miles of trying to sleep and listening to music and forgetting to take out my contacts and watching movies on the seven-inch monitor in front of me. Technically, I land at 7am local time, on the 23rd of February. It’s almost like I completely skipped Sunday. Anyway, registration is this week, and hopefully I’ll be getting squared away in my housing situation. Other than that, I’ll be taking a placement test, which I’m sort of dreading. On the plus side, I’ll also be meeting tons of new people and exploring the city of Kunming! Now if only this flight would just hurry up and get to Hong Kong already… PS: listening to E-40 while cruising over China at 500mph is AWESOME.

Hong Kong Intl Airport

Hong Kong Int'l Airport

At Hong Kong International Airport:

The batteries on both my laptop and my iPod Touch having long since given out, I find myself writing with pen and paper. I am quite relieved to be on the ground for an extended period – in both DFW and SFO, I found myself without a discernible layover in between flights, and as such had little rest.

The landing in Hong Kong was an impressive one – for those not familiar, the approach for landing is entirely over water. Suddenly ocean gives way to runway, with practically no warning and little beach to speak of. The airport is separate from the city, and has been blanketed in fog since I landed here four hours ago. The surrounding geography is mountainous, and seems to more or less form the property line for the airport.

My limited experience here has been a vastly sterilized version of Chinese culture. In the food court, I had my choice of several noodle places, Burger King, and Ben & Jerry’s. I’m ashamed to say that I opted to forgo noodles in favor of a croissan’wich from BK (though it was actually the tastiest Burger King food I’ve ever had).


I’m beginning to feel the effects of “travel grime,” if you will, from extended periods in poorly air-conditioned environments and a distinct lack of showering. As soon as I get settled in at Yunnan Normal University, that’s the 1st thing I’m doing. I need to engage in an extended period of hygiene ASAP. (Update: definitely didn’t get to do that for a while after arriving).

Kunming at night

Kunming at night



  1. Hey. Sorry I didn’t get it up quickly. I put it off and it quickly left my limited brain cache for activities I needed to do. haha.

  2. It’s cool, no worries.

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