Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Just returned from a week and a half in Arizona. I left Seattle Saturday evening for an all night flight to Beijing. But of course, by the time I got to Beijing, it was late Sunday evening. That happens for a couple reasons. When you fly west at just below the speed of sound, you are basically "chasing" the sun. The sun "travels" at about 1000 miles per hour (24 hours in a day, 25,000 miles around the world). You are flying at about 600 miles per hour. So you are chasing the sun, but never quite catching it. But it will lengthen your day considerably if it is morning when you start. And it will lengthen your evening quite a bit if you are entering into night when you leave. I left Seattle at about 6pm and got to Beijing Just before midnight. So the period of time between 6pm and midnight was lengthen to about 12 hours (the duration of the flight). But the problem is, since we crossed the International Date Line, It was Sunday evening when I landed, not Saturday evening.

I noticed several changes during the time I was in America. Credit card purchases seem dangerously easy in today's America. Not sure what the amount is--I think it's about $25--but purchases under that amount do not require a signature, and they don't ask for your ID. So if you lose your credit card in when you're in America, you really seriously need to contact your bank immediately. I'm a foreigner, and foreigners are technically not allowed to have Chinese credit cards--I got one because the Software College needed me to order some software--so I have a very small limit--five hundred dollars, I think. So it would not be catastrophic in my case, but still, five hundred dollars is five hundred dollars.

Another thing I noticed was the number of businesses that were empty. Big signs saying FOR LEASE. It really was quite striking. Must be lots of people out of work. A couple nights before I left, I took a ciy bus back to Mesa from Tempe. When I got to Dobson Road, the driver told me to stay on the bus when everybody else was getting off, because he knew I was actually headed for Longmore, and he had to drive forward to turn around. He dropped me off at Pennington. I went into a little gas station. I noticed a display case that had a lot of doughnuts in it. I walked away from it. I didn't really need that doughnut. But something brought me back. I was sorta glancing at it, more out of boredom than anything else, when a lady came up to me. "Here you go, " she said. I looked at her. She placed a bunch of coins in my hand. "Here's some money to get that doughnut." Very nice lady. Do I look like a hobo? That's the difference between China and America. In China, people say to me, "Are you an artist?" Truth be told I think I'm more of hobo than an artist. I've never drawn better than stick figures, but I have slept on the sidewalk.

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