My 38 Hour Thursday
The time difference between the west coast and china is a circadian rhythum shocking 16 hours – a great and impractical solution for those looking to add some extra hours to their day – just don’t think about losings it on the way back .
I roused myself off the couch at about 4:30 in the am local HK time to shower and grab a taxi to the HK airport. I Arrived about 5:40 – a 40 minute 277HKD journey from my Uncle’s place in mid-levels, central HK. My Dad told me it was going to be in the neighborhood of 150HK – lying sack of monkey poop! He arrived around 6:20 and we made our way through check-in and security, grabbed a quick paper thin steak paired with a cheese free ham and mushroom omlette garnished with some greenery, the pairing also came with a milk tea and maccaroni soup accompanyment – I devoured all of it.
We made it to the gate where “Final Boarding” was flashing on the update board – it always says final boarding – “this is China” we thought, in our drowsiness forsaking the uniqueness HK threw into that schematic deduction. All the same I was happy to board without being sardineified on the gangway.
The flight to shanghai was uneventful – departed about 8:00 from HK arrived a little before 11. Going through pudong airport we had to go through immigration upon entering and out through emmigration to get to our connecting flight taking us to LA – less than intuitive, inconvenient, wasteful – sounds about right, nothing shocking there.
We had a couple hours at the gate waiting for our LA bound flight leaving about 1:50 local time. I whipped out my laptop, connected my iPhone, mouse, mic and headphones and managed to be quite productive! I got some website updates up – followed up on e-mails and assembled and processed my yearly amazon book order. I Picked out 10-12 titles on the subjects of SEO, social media, php, Photoshop, and exportation – was rather satisfied for getting that accomplished in such a small window of time. Good job Dave – give yourself a cookie later.(Which I did!)
On the 12-hour flight to LAX the only productive task I accomplished was writing out my x-mas cards for close friends and family. I was also plesantly surprised to find they had outlets on the back of every seat – alright I can plug in and use my computer the whole trip! – my laptop never left the overhead compartment for the entirety of the flight.
Chatted with my Pa about some internal HR issues and consumed more than my fair share of airline food despite the occasional peculiar note in the flavors – was that just cancer i ate? – dammit! – Hunger trumps negligable risk of contribution to a slow painful death in my book.
There were a few noteable annoyances, spitting – it’s no secret I despise that china rampant habbit, the fellow in front of me shaving in his seat – pragmatic, yes – eyebrow rising, definitely, then there were the pair of American girls of college/graduate school age – the words “O My God/Gosh” and “like” highlighting their conversation. I imagined pummeling them with punches then standing triumphant on their unconscious bodies while beating my chest like a proper savage – that helped. I’m mean I know, my tollerance for bubble dwelling folks is very limited – save your wasteful words for the company of appropriately useless people! Bonding over opinions on the last sex and the city movie is grounds for a beat down – that movie sucked by the way
We landed at about 9am local time, managed to make our way to the rental car shuttle pick up, and picked up our car at payless. Saw a couple Japanese girls in the shuttle, their whisper-quite conversation starkly contrasted by their loud attire. Purple shoes, black stockings with a jean skirt, a LV bag branded with oversized hot pink font demanding recognition from all within eyesight. It was refreshingly different.
Payless was obviously feeling the pressures of the struggling economy they were handing out black and white photocopies of a road map instead of the usual brochure style full color map. Managed to get to our Hotel in Arcadia after asking at several locations for directions.
I hit the gym, which had refreshingly updated and well-maintained equipment. It was, however, lacking a pull up bar like most every hotel-bound fitness center. Got a quick shower and some e-mails in before Dominic showed up to take us out for a quick bite and some lite shopping.
We 3 ate at a popular pub in the area, BJ’s. Dominic informed me it started out as a microbrewery, hence the tasty, and at 10% alcohol, moderately inebriating beer. My father went for a couple beers to go with our three flat bread pizzas – against my warnings “If you finish that beer your going to pass out..” Jet lag doesn’t need much of excuse to shut you down.
We then made our way to best buy to pick up a gps and buy myself a pay as you go phone card. It was somewhere in the neighborhood of 4pm when we got out of there and I was damn near passing out. Dominic dropped us back off at the Hotel where we decided to take a nap.
I set my alarm to 6:30. I awoke at 7:40 to my father’s heavy snoring – “at least” I thought, “it actually proved useful for once.” I roused my father who frantically went about contacting some of our relatives we were scheduled to meet in the area about an hour earlier.
Twenty minutes later I found myself reflecting on the fact that I had just come half way around the world just to end up back inside another Chinese restaurant. I decided not to express my swelling aggrevation at the venue selection as well as the usage of Cantonese over the dinner table. Smile and nod – I know this drill well.
Sabina, Cathy, and Gun, these were the names of my relatives – I believe they are my father’s cousins. We spoke briefly about her son Warren and my brother who had linked up with them after arriving in California. They seemed kind enough. I learned later that she had raised 4 kids as a single parent while holding a full time job and had earned the nickname 7-11 as she was working those hours one way or another between her kids and the job.
After dinner we stopped by Ralph’s – a local grocery store chain where we picked up some wine, milk, and a few other necessities. When we got back to the hotel I nabbed a couple complimentary cookies in the lobby… mmmm raisin and nut.. before drowsily heading up to our room, showering, and passing out at about 2am.