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Published: February 28th 2009
TravelBlog is still acting up, so a series of maps seems more likely to stick than one large giant map.
My flights yesterday were smooth, including the tedious 11.5-12 hour crossing. I was originally seated in a 3-person row with two people who were quite large, had bad breath, coughed continuously without covering their mouths, hung into my space, and wiggled constantly as they tried to get comfortable and stow their many coats, bags, pillows, etc. I'm assuming from their difficulty with seatbelts and such that they were first-time fliers. We didn't have a language in common, but they made it clear that they didn't want my assistance. Fortunately there was a seat open next to a pleasant Canadian woman from a Chilean family, of whom the worst that can be said is that she provided too much information about how she cures yeast infections. This seemed like a great trade-off for escaping my previous seat.
I was able to doze off several times for about an hour at a time, for a total of perhaps 6 hours' light sleep. Sadly, Cathay Pacific served a second dinner-ish meal, so I missed my congee. I read some books, watched a little video, and again put the Brandenberg concertos on to sleep.
We arrived on time in Vancouver, BC and after picking up my bags (never the world's fastest process on a very full transcontinental flight), I was quickly picked up by my hotel van. One night at the hotel costs the same as 4-5 nights in my other hotels for the month, but on the other hand, it had a bathtub, shampoo, water I could brush my teeth with and drink from the tap, several blankets, and non-disintegrating toilet paper that could also be flushed, and this means a lot (especially the tub) after a month without. I read for a while, woke at 5:00 AM feeling reasonably rested after another 7 hours' sleep (getting up once to eat some pineapple rings from the Bangkok airport--my only big manifestation of jet lag is usually that I'm hungrier), read in the bathtub, and now am in their business center waiting for breakfast. My flight is not until just before noon, but I may go to the airport early to enjoy a 12-oz. coffee with half and half (not an espresso-grind or instant 3-oz. coffee with sweetened, condensed milk). The international terminal at Vancouver has some beautiful art and craft by Canadian artists, including Coast Salish artist Susan Point, whose enormous piece "The Spindle Whorl" I like very much. You can see it here
, though the photo doesn't show you how massive it is. Other work at the
Vancouver airport can be seen here
. Some, such as Susan Point's piece, can only be seen in Arrivals or Departures, so be strategic.
I'm really looking forward to being home with N and the cats, and seeing all of my friends, students, and colleagues. I have lots of photos and lots of new materials for teaching. I'm looking forward to talking about it with everyone.
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