Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Rough couple of days. I boarded the plane Thursday evening in Seattle. There was a delay getting off the ground, because the pilot insisted on using the runway that would put him into the wind on takeoff, and the tower was not cooperating. They wanted him to use the runway he was originally scheduled on. I can appreciate their irritation, but I believe the pilot was right to be stubborn about it. We had a fully loaded plane. A plane that size with every seat occupied and lots and lots of luggage and then enough fuel to cross the ocean is really heavy. Flying into the wind makes all the difference in the world. When we finally did get cleared for the runway our pilot insisted on using, I noticed that it took us a long time to get airborne. I don't like to think about what it might have been like if we hadn't had the wind coming at us. Once you get off the ground, you can breathe easily (assuming you don't have to make an emergency landing) because you will burn up a lot of fuel in twelve hours. Fuel is very heavy. Anyway, our late departure meant that we didn't get into Beijing until after midnight. So I left on Thursday evening and got to Beijing early Saturday morning. I had no Friday.

After I got to Beijing, I was trying to decide what to do, because I knew I could never get to Fragrant Hills before morning.. I went over to where the shuttle buses were, and the shuttle to Zhongguancun was closed. But for some reason, there was a shuttle going to Three Dollar Bridge (San Yuan Qiao). There was another guy who said he was heading toward Zhongguancun also, so I decide to take that shuttle. He was a really nice guy--let me share a taxi with him and dropped me off in Wudaokou. He just told me to give him 20 kuai, which was more than fair.

Because of the New Year's holiday, the Bridge Cafe was closed, and much to my disappointment, when I got to Lush, they told me they were closing at 2:30. So I would have to find another place to finish off the night before I could head out to Fragrant Hills on the first bus in the morning. I met a couple Russians at Lush. Actually, they were members of a Russian minority. One of them looked Chinese to me. I thought perhaps he was Chinese Russian, or something. But he told me that he had no relation at all to China. After Lush closed, I headed over to KFC to wait for the morning bus. I met a Muslim from India, who was quite talkative. I started asking him about his religion. He told me that he was a Musilm, but that he did like wine. When he started talking about his religion, I told him he must not be very serious about it if he still drank wine. He said, "Yes, but I always say, 'Oh, my Lord, I'm sorry.'"

"But you're not sorry. You like your wine, and you intend to keep drinking it."

I don't know--I guess I was just tired. But for some reason I felt inclined to point out to him the hypocrisy of his situation. He was nice guy anyway.

By the time I finally got out here to the Hills, I was exhausted, but not sleepy at all, because the sun was coming up. I just didn't feel like going to bed, so I headed up to the park and did some hiking. I guess I just wanted to be sure the mountain was still there.

Soooo....New Year's Eve, but all I want to do now is sleep.

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