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February 11, 2006

6774 miles, 2 breakfasts and 2.5 movies

I made it to the Taipei airport, called CKS. (Interesting moment when a flight attendant announced we were coming into "Seecaies" airport, I panicked a bit thinking, well now that would suck to have gotten on the wrong plane and end up in Singapore or something...Then I realized she had said "CKS," and a quick ticket check confirmed I'd was in the right place—not that I could have done anything about it if I wasn't!)

It really meant a lot to me to get sendoff phone calls from all of my closest friends. I kind of ran out of time at the end to really talk with people, and I am glad to take all of your spirits with me in my travels.

The flight was as cramped as you would expect, full, and long. The food wasn't that bad. But, after opening the treasure chest of wonderous movie riches on the little screen in front of my seat, time flew and I didn't even make it through my second New Yorker or my first book.

The first round of drinks started with a small package of "mix nut"...which turns out to be mostly nori maki, some other rice crackers and very few nuts. But salty and good just the same.

We started with breakfast at 1:15am. I was surprised I was even hungry, since I've had a funny stomach all week. All I wanted for dinner before I left was a PBJ. The choice for breakfast was "fish noodle" or "pork rice" I went for "fish noodle" and it turned out that my first instinct—that both sounded a little icky—was pretty close on target. But with sliced melon and pineapple, potato salad, salami and turkey slices, a roll that tasted like it had been sweetened with marshmellow, and Milano cookies to save for later, I wasn't going to starve.

A very suspicious looking marbled sweet with some clear gooey stuff on top turned out to be a respectable banana cheesecake. Yum. I think G. would have liked it.

Above the tray table is a little screen, with a corded remote in the armrest. You can listen to music, watch some TV-type shows (travel shows mostly, news+sports), play video games and watch movies.

And the movie choices were fabulous—some of these are still in the theater! Under "Popular," I could choose from Legend of Zorro, Walk the Line, An Unfinished Life, Elizabethtown, Two for the Money, North Country, Shopgirl and Capote. Under "Favourites" I could choose from Constant Gardener, Brothers Grimm, Just Like Heaven, In her Shoes, the entire LOTR series or Jerry Maguire.

I watched Capote and Walk the Line, and about a third of Just Like Heaven (b/c it's not one I'd make G. see. And it is pretty weak.) I plan to hit North Country, Shopgirl and Elizabethtown on the way home, assuming the lineup will be the same.

Some time after crossing the international date line, we had second breakfast (about 10am Friday, LA time?) and it was nearly as good as the first. Omelette, melon, pineapple, grapefruit, Dannon yogurt, a croissant, a very neglected sausage, and four of the sorriest, soggiest tater tots you've ever seen (they tasted all right though).

I'm on China Airlines and the service is excellent and polite, everything coming at the exact right moment. Hot towel, water, tea, meals. The only thing that really stinks is the utter lack of leg room on the plane. My knees touch the seatback in front of me when it's reclined (I'm only 5'5"). There isn't much space in the front for your feet, and you can't tuck them under you because that's where the lifejacket is stowed. And you can't leave your feet in the aisle because there's a lot of traffic and you'll send someone flying. So I just moved around a lot to keep the circulation going. Hey, it's only 14 and a half hours. Once you've got your inflatible neck pillow, and some Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash songs in your head, what's to notice?

I'll be hanging at an airport club my dad set up for me, quite swank, with free internet, free shower and variety of free noodles and snacks.

1775 miles to go. Next stop, Phuket airport, then a two-and-a-half-hour taxi or bus ride up to Khao Lak.

Posted by sedda at February 11, 2006 06:14 AM