Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jetting Away to Vietnam!

Never have I ever been so claustrophobic on an airplane until now. Sitting in the window seat aboard a fully sold out American Airlines Boeing 737, with less than a foot of legroom is a pain for my 6'2 self. Thankfully it's just a four or so hour flight to California because wow, if I had to sit like this for 14.5 hours to Hong Kong...I think I'd rather swim. Saying goodbye to my parents at the airport in Milwaukee may have been one of the hardest things I've done. It's always difficult seeing my mom cry as she hugs me goodbye, though my crying while hugging her and my dad probably didn't help. I figure if we stay in contact frequently, all will be alright.

So how was airport security? Not terrible, but not good. Of course they had to inspect my bag, scanning it twice due to hefty amount of camera equipment and Mac laptop. Then I could pick from either the body scan, invasive, or a pat-down, even more invasive. I chose a body scan which seemed utterly pointless, as I walked into this tube, held my hands up high like I was being robbed and had this "whooo" thing dance around me. Clearly, not a terrorist, I made it through security fine. Let's just hope my 67 pound checked suitcase with four or so months of clothes and living necessities makes it across the ocean to Hong Kong and on to Vietnam.

Now I'm aboard the 737, soaring west towards San Francisco in a pitch black sky, scanning all the lit towns far below. Four hours until we land so i'll play some Angry Birds on my laptop, cue up some music, and catch up on my latest Car and Driver magazines. Maybe I'll even watch a little Top Gear, figuring I'll save the sleeping for the long haul, trans-Pacific flight. Oh, and props to American Airlines for having outlets to plug stuff into onboard. It was nearly impossible to find a place to charge my camera and laptop battery at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. About 2.5, maybe 3 hours into the first flight, I had read through a decent amount of pages in my Lonely Planet Vietnam travel guidebook, a great resource I'd recommend for anyone traveling abroad, and downed a few Red Vines. Thanks dad. I'm looking out my window right now and I believe we're flying over the Rocky Mountains, which is breathtaking because even at night you can make out just how tall they are and see their snowcapped peaks. I've never traveled to the Rockies so this is a treat.

Live from San Francisco! Well I made it to California and despite tight quarters, we landed early! I think I'll do some walking around and stretching, grab a bite to eat, and figure out how to eliminate this colossal headache I have. This airport is super confusing to move through, and I'm finally perched up at gate A6 in the international terminal. As I walked towards my gate, I saw the Cathay Pacific Boeing 747 I'd be spending the next 15 hours on....and I geeked out! I've always loved airplanes and now I'd be flying on a jumbo jet for the first time. I'm excited because ever since I was a tiny, tiny, kit, my dream job has been to be an airline pilot. True fact. So for me, flying on a 747 is comparable to riding around in a Ferrari.

Starvation is kicking in and I need to find (key word "need") the nearest Cinnabon or spot I can eat junky unhealthy American food one last time before I head across the world. Next update will be from Vietnam in two days! Wish me luck!