Friday, May 11, 2007

The Flights

Dallas, TX:

First flight went without a hitch, but I can tell that David is truly exhausted. I hope he can sleep on the next one. Sarah played in the blue glass sound installation near our gate.

This flight, we have two window seats near each other and one aisle seat. This next flight is FULL, and 14.5 hours long, not including boarding time. Ugh. The prize at the end is worth it, though. I'm glad it is on Korean Air. The non USA airlines seem to treat passengers much more like humans.

As far as feelings about what we are going to do, hmmm, I really haven't thought as much about Peng and the adoption today. Trying to concentrate on spending some time with Sarah and catching up on an issue of Dwell Magazine and trying too hard not to think about being packed like a sardine for 15 hours.

Sarah tried to teach me to knit. Ha!
Incheon, Korea:

We reached Korea. I slept most of the flight - 6 hours, woke up, then 4 hours, woke up, then some more. David and Sarah slept about 4 hours and watched some movies and Sarah read her book about Raccoons. In Korea, we spent $20 to buy a water (our unopened Korea Air waters were confiscated in immigration), a coffee, a tea, a muffin and a small ham and cheese sandwich and three green plastic toothpics.

I sat next to a really interesting doctor who was born in the Philippines. She talked about life in Manilla when the Japanese took over. She was in school, and remembers them burning all the English books. If a student didn't get all their Japanese work correct, she had to stand with arms outstretched for hours. Because she learned to speak Japanese, she would go to the prison where her grandfather (previously a political official) was held, carrying two baskets of fish dinner. She would tell the guard that he could have one dinner if she could go see her grandpa. I asked if he survived the imprisonment and she said yes, but that he died shortly after becuase he was tortured. Very matter of factly she talked about the types of torture used to try and get names of people sympathetic to the US and allies or against the Japanese. She also talked about running home through back roads and climbing over fences and such to get home quickly when the bombers came. To this day she says she kneels down when she hears planes that sound like bombers. She lived many years in Italy, Texas, where she was the town's only doctor. Amazing stories about that, too. Her life would make a movie.

David is now lying down on the bench in the waiting area, and we have about 30 minutes before boarding the last leg into Hong Kong. I think this flight will be 3 hours. We are all ready to arrive. Sarah is enjoying watching all the adorable Asian kids with their spiky black hair and cute faces moving through the airport.
Flight to Hong Kong:

Korean Air is wonderful. The attendants can make trips up and down the aisles with all sorts of interesting goodies - like seaweed soup, peanuts, dinner, ice cream, and have all the trash picked up faster than an American flight can do the opening drink service. I saved two tubes of spice paste for my friend Wade, who really likes the Korean food at the Blue Cactus Cafe at home. We'll see if they make it through security.

I'm sortof wishing I'd taken my friend Emily's advice and packed some funny reading material, like David Sedaris, rather than The Rape of Nanking. I wanted to get a sense of the history of Nanjing (previously Nanking), but it is pretty gruesome. We might try to hit the commemorative museum while we are there, though. One fact: if all the bodies of the people murdered in the 7 weeks the Japanese destroyed Nanjing were laid next to each other holding hands, they would span 200 miles.

I'm going to let Sarah type now, as she is almost done with her book.


Anonymous said...

Were the little green toothpicks individually wrapped? And what kind of napkins did you get? Details, we want details!

Raskell Party of 8 said...

THank you Heidi for your update. Get rest and we will hear from you soon!

Anonymous said...

Sounds so exciting! Yay for your family! Trisha

Laura said...

If I ever DO get on a plane for 15 hours I most definitely want you on it with me. :o) Maybe when we are in NC Sarah can teach me how to knit -- or when you get back if jetlag doesn't get in the way. I always wanted to learn and even bought a starters kit that frustrated me because I could not make the first knot. Oh, wait, you're in China and I'm talking about knitting kits. Um, sorry -- back to David Sardaris!

Heidi Mehltretter said...

Sarah says she will teach you to knit, Laura.