I’ll say sorry in advance for this…but I’ve been trapped on a plane with limited human interaction and it’s the only way to really barf out my day to day to my friends and family. So if you want to know what I ate, how I felt, what I did on the way to Hong Kong…well then, you’re welcome.
I’m pretty sure my feet no longer fit in my shoes and I probably smell and look funny from the hours of crumpled up sleeping, sitting, and working with my laptop crammed against the back of the seat of the person in front of me (thanks so very much for reclining!).
I left Portland at 6pm full of tears, second thoughts, and luggage full of yoga books and yoga clothes bound for San Francisco. I couldn’t believe I was crying. I never cry. I didn’t even cry when I left to go abroad for a year and here I was leaving for just 6 weeks. But it could not be stopped, I kept seeing Casey’s and Abbie’s faces and thinking of my Flex & Flow fam and the tears just wouldn’t stop streaming. I thought, shit…how am I going to make it?
I arrived in San Francisco just before 8pm, grabbed my bag (which I had to check because of all the heavy books I’m toting around), and then made my way to the international terminal. After wandering around aimlessly looking for the Singapore Airlines check-in kiosk, I realized that it wasn’t even set-up yet – funny enough, the check-in counter wouldn’t be open for another two hours or so. I had been banking on getting a solid meal while at the airport but found my choices to be very limited by check-in. Sad green salad and a side of even sadder bread. Hooray. Lucky for me, I had coconut chips and chocolate tucked away in my bag (thanks Liz and Nicci!).
Once check-in opened, I waited in an extremely long line, and almost immediately started to feel very much like a sore thumb (how I imagine I will feel for much of this trip). The check-in process was easy; the woman at the gate was so helpful, pleasant, and sweet (I wouldn’t expect anything less from Singapore Airlines after flying to Seoul many years ago). The funniest part was right after she took my bag and placed it on the cart, she said, I have something for you and proceeded to hand me a card good for a free gift at Duty Free and then stepped out from behind the desk to show me where I could find the Duty Free (uh, thanks, I’ll get right on that?).
Laughing and inspecting my Duty Free card, I made my way to the gate to try and find somewhere to sit, work and plug-in. Only, it was jam packed with frustrated people waiting for a flight to Sydney that had been delayed due to mechanical issues and a few people waiting for my flight (I was still VERY early). There were literally zero plugs and zero places to sit – literally just people everywhere – sleeping, working, talking, a few crying (apparently a bunch of people weren’t going to make standby for the flight to Sydney). I found a spot next to a pole in the center of two gates and started working. And even though it was freezing sitting on the cold, hard tile, I felt good and productive. And when I finally took a breath, I realized it was after midnight and nearly time to board.
We finally boarded just before 1am and then holy shit, we were off. I was finally doing this damn thing.
Walking through first class on the way to my seat, I smiled at all the people who were about to sleep so much better than me (ha!) but was pleasantly surprised to find that I was in an aisle seat with a middle seat empty between me and another passenger.
We exchanged hellos and she looked at me nervously and in broken english asked where I was going. I told her I was heading to Singapore and she nodded and smiled and said Hong Kong and then nevermind. She’s young, probably in her 20’s and Indian. Also very nervous. About an hour into the flight (around 2:15 am), I started to nod off and then heard clink, clink, clink, uhhhhgggggg, clink. We had hit some turbulence and I could see my panic stricken seat neighbor fumbling with her seat belt. Finally, she looked up at me and said, it’s not working. I showed her with the middle seat belt how to put it on and she flipped hers in the right direction. I had a hard time falling back asleep as sleeping on planes is already such an adventure for me.
And then sometime within the next hour or hour and a half, as I was half between dreaming and obnoxiously aware of the crick in my neck, someone was putting my tray table down. Meal service. At like 4 am? I requested the vegetarian meal (naturally) and it was probably the most foul airplane food I’ve ever received. Pasta with what tasted like chunky ketchup and iceberg lettuce. Mmmm, yummy. Don’t get me wrong, I know airplane food is generally not good but I remember flying Singapore Airlines before and finding it to be better than most…I wasn’t hungry anyway and went back to sleep, trying not to knock my tray and wishing they’d come by to get it. Around 5 am, in what I thought was a dream, someone was showing me an It’s It’s – a giant ice cream sandwich – nothing about that seemed right. It was full size, not like the 100 calorie snack pack version of things they usually give you on the airplane. I nodded my head no and went back to sleep. I woke up again around 6:00 am as we hit more turbulence and they were saying something on the loudspeaker about a tropical storm and I was awake once again. My anxious neighbor needed to use the bathroom and all but fell flat on her face trying to get out of her seat. I helped her as best I could and then decided it was officially official, there would be no more sleep on this flight. I glanced over at her seat and there was an It’s It’s wrapper…so I hadn’t been dreaming that.
I wasn’t quite ready to be productive at that hour so I watched Whiskey Tango Fox Trot instead. I hadn’t heard great things about it but it’s Tina Fey so I figured, how could I go wrong? I thought it was cute and fun and it got me to a more awake, less agitated state.
Sometime around 8 am, they brought us travel kits with a toothbrush, toothpaste and a wash cloth which was nice. And then another hour or so later, another even grosser meal consisting of asparagus and mushrooms (which I’m pretty sure came out of a can), another sad salad and stale roll, and a cup of fruit (the kind that comes soaked in fruit juice….eck!). I opted for a Larabar out of my backpack instead and two cups of airplane coffee (if you chug it, it isn’t all that bad).
With a couple hours left until we land in Hong Kong, all I can now is dream about stretching my legs. And getting out of this damn seat. And maybe even changing my clothes. Or at least washing my face or brushing my teeth somewhere other than an airplane bathroom….Or maybe a real cup of coffeeeee? That would also be nice!
Next stop Singapore!
Stay sweaty friends!