I had a taxi coming at 11:45am for a 2:45pm flight back to LA. In the morning before departure I had breakfast down the street. It was the American Breakfast, which made me realize that I'd gone the entire trip without eating Western food, except for breakfast. A lot of places had hamburgers on the menu, but Asian food is so good I didn't even consider it. I still remember the burger I had in Bombay with the runny egg on top, so that's another reason I stay away from "familiar" food overseas unless it's something standardized like KFC.
While waiting for the taxi I saw Kate, Kristen and Amy and we did semi-proper goodbyes, along with my usual complaints about going back to work, not having a dozen girls around anymore, I should have been a tour guide 10 years ago when I was used to living in poverty, etc. Have I mentioned that going back to work at the end of a group tour is one of the most unpleasant experiences in life? And that it doesn't help that my company is a depressing Museum of Oddities? j2 Global Communications is the anti-Intrepid.
On a positive note, I got to the airport early enough that I got window seats for the whole journey. A window seat can be the difference between 3 hours of sleep and 6 hours. Even better, I had a row to myself on BKK-HKG and HKG-TPE, and an empty seat next to me on TPE-LAX.
On the first flight I had fish for dinner. The flight attendant asked if I wanted wine. "Yes, red wine." "White wine?" "RED wine." I don't care what goes with what. I don't like white wine.
I rarely watch movies on flights, but I had 19 hours to kill, so I watched Wedding Crashers. Nice to see Oliver Steinberg's brief appearance on the upright bass. He worked at j2 until we outsourced his job to India, and now he's getting better gigs. During the film there's a scene with "Shout!" (the Otis Day song, but a different version) and the plane hit turbulence as they were dancing in the movie. Cool!
Hong Kong at night was the second-most dazzling thing I saw on this trip. I flaunted the laws of physics by taking a dump in Hong Kong without ever officially being in Hong Kong. That's mind-blowing. Farting in the Eastern and Western Hemispheres simultaneously (as I attempted at Greenwich a few years ago) would have nice, but the Hong Kong dump raises just as many questions about the nature of matter and space-time.
I ended up with 5-7 mosquito bites. I used repellent a couple times but I guess those were the days without mosquitoes. I never actually saw them anywhere.
I think I got some sleep on the final leg from Taipei to LAX. The window was very cold though, even with the shade down. They served us dinner about 2 hours into the flight. Why? I realize not all passengers just got off two other flights that both served meals, but presumably everyone ate something before the flight. Who's ready for another meal at 1:30am? And then 6 hours after that meal, they served breakfast. The whole point of eating is to give your body energy to function. Nobody on that plane used any energy in those 6 hours, even the ones who stayed awake, so why would anyone want or need more food? If you're gonna serve a meal, do it at the end of the flight. Anyone who needs to load up on calories beforehand can eat at the airport.
By the way, the dinner was described as "chicken and noodles" but turned out to be Eye-talian style pasta with cheese and sauce. I could barely get it down. My body wasn't ready for that Western crap yet.
In LA we flew all the way over downtown before turning back around to the west to land. This was the first time I'd been over downtown LA at night. It's sparkling! But not dazzling.
At LAX I went through customs and the guy asked what I was doing in Thailand. I said "No ladyboys, if that's what you mean."
Oh yeah, there was a monk on the flight to LA. Girls, I have to say, he was looking pretty fine in that robe.