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Not quite WiFi, but maybe better.

September 14, 2012

Oh my god, there’s no wifi on the plane.  It’s 14 hours to Hong Kong and there’s no wifi.  “We’re getting it next year,” the check in attendant told me. He was funny and helpful and I hated him pretty intensely.  None of my usual upgrade techniques had worked and I’d just come to grips with the idea of 14 hours in a window seat in coach (not great given my water consumption) and now this.

I’m not sure when the last time I went 14 hours without email, Facebook, or words with friends was, but I’m doubted my ability to handle it.

It took every bit of positive thinking I could muster but I managed to conjure my aunt’s voice in my head instructing me to “find good and praise it.”  Really what have I got to complain about.  I have a dozen movies and books on my iPad, a charging dock at the seat, and Barbara and Cy, the lovely couple from North Carolina blocking me from the aisle and easy bathroom access, could not have been nicer (though their bionic camel bladders baffled me, given they have at least 20 years on me.).

Oh – and I’m embarking on a great adventure.  (I refuse the phrase trip of a lifetime as I’m hoping for many more adventures to come).

I think about my mom a lot on planes.  She would talk to anyone and everyone and relay their stories with glee.  I’m not that friendly, but I did learn that Barbara and Cy were headed to visit their daughter in Shanghai, and I spent a little time chatting with a woman bringing her toddler home to Hong Kong to meet his grandparents for the first time.

I also love watching people’s airline food choices, it’s not quite the Tanglewood picnic assortment, but almost.  Some folks have beautiful hand prepared baskets of farmer’s market quality delectables, others stock up on whatever the airport concessions have to offer.  My approach to plane-trip nutrition is a lot like my approach to a Tanglewood picnic – I have big dreams about what I’m going to bring and then I either forget or run out of time and end up relying on what they have to offer me.  For this trip I did manage to grab a couple remarkably good apples from the hotel before I left and the Asian-inspired lunch was as good as one could hope for on a flight.  I’ve also downed a lot of water, so overall, I’m in good shape.

6 hours in, I’ve watched two movies and started this blog post.  After 8 hours, three movies, the first episode of Aaron Sorkin’s Newsroom, and a little bit of what seemed like a promising documentary, but ultimately disappointed.  12 hours down I’ve gotten in a brief nap and caught a fun French documentary called Apple, The Tyranny of Cool, which is exactly as it sounds, and watched Hong Kong tv’s cooking shows “Itching for Kimchee” and “Pretty Soup Brewers.”

I’ve also spent a good deal of time following the flight progress on the little in seat monitor and gotten very into checking the stream from the camera mounted on the outside of the plane, something I’ve not seen before.  Reading, I have not done.  And I have several books I’m eager to get to, but alas.

Best part of the flight are my periodic breaks in the back of the plane. Lots of seasoned passengers putting vanity aside to stretch out stiff muscles.  An international flight from JFK naturally draws an international passenger roster. It is, of course, mostly Americans and Chinese on the flight, but I’ve made new, if short-term, friendships with folks from Germany, Ireland, Canada, and the U.K. Each with their own tale of what put them on our plane.  It’s a kind of socializing unique to solo-travelers – that need to connect with other human beings after so much time together in a confined space.  I probably wouldn’t need it if I’d had access to my friend stream, so I find myself oddly grateful for Cathay Pacific’s lack of technology.

 Upon arrival in Hong Kong, I have wifi and a short layover to catch up on email. Its 2am Eastern time, so no one will chat, but I’m thinking of you and wishing we could.  I’m off to the airport chain (apparently) Super Super for a bowl of noodles.
Next stop – Kathmandu.

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3 Comments
  1. Roberta permalink

    You go girl have a great adventure. Love you.

  2. Esme permalink

    We’ve thought of you All Day! I showed Alexandra how far you were traveling and all she said was, “I miss Kath-a-leen so much mommy!” I miss you, too, but I’m looking forward to hearing more and everything. Even your plane trip was fun to read about. I cannot imagine what it’ll be like once you’re out of the friendly skies. Love you!

  3. Linda Drohan permalink

    Hi Kathy,
    That is a long flight, I’ve done it. All that time without your electronic toys is a good thing. Perhaps
    you’ll find some inner resources you didn’t know you had before.
    Love you,
    Linda

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