Note: The following entry was written Monday while I was in China. I couldn't convince my laptop to connect to the network in the office there, so I'm posting it now. I'll write a new post and share some pictures once I get a chance to download them and catch up on some other stuff for a bit!
Well, needless to say, this has been an interesting week. I’m starting this post while finishing up lunch on Monday, which is really Sunday night at home. I’m still trying to get used to this 12-hours ahead thing.
My flight out was uneventful. I left the house way too early on Friday morning and made it through security with about an hour to spare. I’m glad I did leave too early though, security was even worse than last (this?) week when I went through with mom. I had a bit of time to spare in Detroit, so I grabbed a bite to eat and called Gak. I knew after I got on the plane to Tokyo, it would be at least 14 hours until I could call him again. At least at this point we were in the same time zone. He was doing well. I’d also talked to him as I was getting onto the plane in Philly. (I’d spent the night at my parents’ again, since they’re so much closer…) I had about a 9:30 flight in Philly. I’m talking to him when I suddenly get a “hang on” and next thing I know, I’m talking to Zoe. It was great to hear her voice. I miss seeing her. I haven’t had much of a chance these last several weeks.
(Remind me to tell you later in this post about Zoe’s adventures while I was in California… or wait, did I already?)
I have to admit, traveling “World Business Class” on Northwest rocks. Especially if you’re on the lower level and first four rows on a 747. I had seat 4A. Northwest uses those funky space-pod looking seats in their World Business Class. I think even Gak would have had enough knee space, with the guy in front of him reclined. That says something right there.
Unfortunately, on this flight I found out exactly how not to sleep like a Mimbari. I felt a lot like Susan when she was trying to sleep on the Whitestar. While the seat goes mostly flat, it doesn’t quite make it. This means your feet are a good bit below your head. And even though it’s a comfortable seat, it’s not a ‘comfy seat’ like a recliner. I think the other big issue, and not that this was a real drawback, was how much they fed me. The plane left at around 2:30. They started serving appetizers for dinner at 3:30, maybe earlier. Mind you, I’d had a real meal in Detroit because I had time and I had no idea when/what they’d be feeding me on the plane. (Northwest is notoriously stingy with feeding you in cattle-car class on domestic flights…) Dinner finally finished up around 5:00 or so I’m guessing. They also feed you again about midway though the flight and offered you breakfast about an hour before you landed.
I tried to sleep. I probably dozed for about 2 or 3 hours total out of the flight. I spent a lot of time listening to my iPod, trying to crochet and watching a movie. On this plane, the Business class gets their own personal TV/movie/entertainment screens. I was trying very hard to go to sleep. I found out that I’d taken Pink Floyd’s The Wall off of my iPod. (I’m programmed to fall asleep to this…) I’d snoozed to Lorena McKennet’s CD that I have downloaded, but was awake again. I figured I’d put on something to snooze to because when I’m on the road I fall asleep to the TV often. (Hey, I’m used to Gak having either the TV on or on the computer right outside the bedroom at home.) Well, I flipped through the movies and guess what I found? Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Yes, the ‘old’ classic. (I refuse to call it old just because it came out when I was in High School.) It was rated E, not for Everyone, but for Edited. And boy did they butcher it. I can understand them cutting one or two scenes, but why the scene when Robin tried to have Ahzim ambushed? Or the one where Little John tells Robin he’s got balls of solid rocks? Oh well. I usually can fall asleep to this movie, or at least doze if I’m tired. I just couldn’t this time.
When I got to Tokyo, I figured out that, yes, just like everyone said, my phone wouldn’t work. Therefore I couldn’t call Gak. I wasn’t too happy about this. I spent most of the 2-hour layover trying not to fall asleep in the chairs at the gate. I figured I should probably attempt to stay up until I got to China, since it would be about 10pm local time and therefore bedtime. It almost worked, except while I was on the plane.
I was met by someone from the hotel and whisked off to it. I couldn’t see much of the city as we drove through, but that’s OK, I was too tired to notice. I call Gak from the hotel and promptly crash.
Yesterday was a tough day. I slept fitfully all night and woke up for good about 6am. I get a shower and call Gak again. (Yes, I’ve spent a lot of time calling Gak this trip. I’m feeling very home sick, more so than usual.) I hadn’t been anywhere and I hadn’t had breakfast or anything yet. I just needed to call him because I knew he’d be crashing in a few hours. I also talked to Doug, the trainer who was just leaving here and he gave me the rest of the details I needed. Or at least what I thought I needed.
He convinced me I should take the hotel Shuttle into People’s Square. Mind you, I almost didn’t go. I spent a good hour convincing myself that it was OK and I was as adventurous as I said I was. I must admit, I’ve been pretty scared in some ways. Not from physical violence or anything like that, but lonely and isolated scared. I think that’s worse in some ways.
I knew I’d made the wrong choice when I got off the shuttle and everyone dispersed and the driver couldn’t/wouldn’t tell me when it would pick us up.
Oh, and did I tell you the weather here reminds me a lot of the weather I was dealing with in Miami a few weeks back? And I was wearing jeans because I didn’t pack shorts. I knew it was going to be warm, I didn’t realize it meant very, very humid as well. I wandered around for a few hours, felt like a ‘stupid Westerner’ a lot. Even so far as to eat lunch at the Pizza Hut because their menu was also in English. I wasn’t hungry so much as thirsty. I did wander around People’s Square for a little while and it is beautiful. I was just way to hot and sticky and miserable to enjoy it. It started to actually rain for a bit and I caught a cab back to the hotel. Another nice experience really. I haven’t met an unfriendly Chinese person yet. It was a very safe ride and not too expensive (I think, I’m still not 100% sure on the conversion rate here…. At least it wasn’t too expensive compared to my lunch and the distance I traveled.)
I napped most of the afternoon because I was still trying to make up for going without much sleep for over 28 hours. I made myself go to dinner, even though I didn’t want to. That didn’t work out too well. I ordered what sounded good, but it wasn’t. That and I had absolutely no luck with the chopsticks last night. Luckily they rescued me and offered me a fork. I was a miserable mess. I was exhausted, home sick and not feeling all that great. I just wanted to go home and curl up with my hubby, but that won’t happen until Wednesday.
Today has been a bit better. Breakfast went well, I caught the right bus and even got off at the right stop. I even managed to find the people I was supposed to find. The training is going well. We’re actually going through the material a lot faster than I thought, although I think we’ve stalled for the day. That’s OK. They were supposed to be back from lunch 35 minutes ago, but aren’t. I’m just about at the stopping point for the 2-days anyhow. I know I don’t have the right people in my class, but I’m making the best of it. I also know that my training will be almost useless because they haven’t even installed the system yet. I think it’s still sitting in our factory. I trust my field guy who is supposed to be doing the install when it does happen. He’ll bring these guys up to speed as best he can. The guys I do have are friendly and nice. I even managed to eat my lunch with chopsticks today. (Hey, this is a huge feat for me!) I have no idea what I ate, other than the green peppers, but it was good and I enjoyed it. Much more than the food I’ve had at the hotel. (The hotel restaurant smells funny… not bad, just funny. It’s not spoiled food or anything, just a particular spice I don’t know and don’t seem to like the smell of…) I asked the one guy who came to visit with me (I think he wanted to work on his English, they get paid more the better their English is) couldn’t tell me what the fried triangles were because he didn’t know in English. I left the strange grey/purple vegetables and the shrimp, but ate a lot of everything else.
Ok. I’m going to wrap it up for now, I hope to post this tonight if I can convince the hotel connection to work. I really need to check the work email and stuff.
Peace to all.