Dave's Sketch Journal

Drawing is taking a line for a walk. - Paul Klee

air travel

After 20 hours in the air and another 15 in the three airports we finally arrived at our destination. In retrospect, we should have made the long journey in two legs, resting a day between. China is a long ways away.

Flying in China can be miserable. There is no zone boarding as in the U.S. wherein they gradually load the plane in sections of seats. No, it's just one mass of people up at the gate. No real lines. Everyone tries to fit through the gate at the same time. Reminds me of the old Play-doh squeeze toy that made a long spaghetti noodle from a clump of doh.

The result is a longer boarding times since people sitting in the front of the plane are standing in the isle stuffing huge bags into the overhead bins while most of the people haven't even found their seats yet.

When we did get settled there are interminable waits that have no explanation. The flight attendants try hard to calm us impatient folks down using both Chinese and English. Unfortunately her English is not understandable. The inflection is wrong and simply sounds like Chinese noise. I understand her Chinese better than her English even though I don't know all the vocabulary. So after waiting in the airport for seven hours, we wait strapped on the plane another two.

On our last leg the guy in front of us must have been traveling on planes for weeks because it was obvious he hadn't had a shower in as long. A man behind us moaned and huffed every time the flight attendant told us there would be another delay. Unfortunately for us, before boarding, he had lunch laced with onions and garlic. Each delay brought another huffing exhalation that pumped halitosis forward between our seats. His odor swirled around us as a cloud and then mingled with the front seat's puff of body order. We took less frequent breaths of oxygen during those two hours and had the blowers above our heads blowing full blast but we were still turning blue.

Whenever I think about how terrible air travel has become I always compare it to ship and land travel before jets. We arrived half way across the world in just two days for a two month long stay. Had we used the old way of travel It would have taken us two months just to get here, just in time to turn around and go home.

The apartment was a welcome sight.

For travel to be delightful, one must have a good place to leave and return to. 
-- Frederick B. Wilcox

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