Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Long Flight Home

April 22nd

The Long Flight Home.

I bid adieu to the Emmetts. Anthony dropped me at the airport. There is a chance I may see him later this summer. I know I will see Banksy, but the plans are not quite set. I find a lot of satisfaction in having friends in different countries and, in those countries, friends who travel. On the odd occasions they come through my neck of the woods, it's good and refreshing to repay the kindness shown as a traveler by being a good host. I find a guest in my house brings the same kind of energy I enjoy as a traveler.

I enjoyed one last well-crafted cappuccino; even at the airport it was good. I had an odd premonition I would soon be drinking a certain brand of crappy coffee that spends more on pithy aphorisms and inspirational quotes on their cups than on decent brewing techniques. Lucky for me, I now packed my mini-espresso machine from Melbourne.

I had psyched myself up for the painful 14-hour flight. I got a book about the ANZACs and was looking forward to free drinks on the international flights. After finding my seat well in the back of the plane, one of the stewards came up to me and asked if I was Mr. Hanssen. I replied I was, and he told me that they had been instructed to take very good care of me on this flight. Apparently a friend of mine, a certain stewardess I had met at the very start of my trip from Seattle to LA, had caught my flight number and called in a favor for me - of which I was eternally grateful. They asked me to discretely move myself up to the economy-plus seats where my legs enjoyed a luxurious six extra inches. In addition to that, the row they put me in was all to myself. During the flight they continued to ask me if I was being taken care of. For as many times they asked me, I really don’t know what else I could have asked for. The fact was that with all this room and ample drink service (didn’t even have to ask), I was cruising at 35,000 feet. I try not to sleep on a long-haul flight. I find that I would rather be tired the whole day that I land than deal with jet lag the next day. Usually I am uncomfortable enough to pull this off, but I managed a solid five hours stretched out in the most blissful sleep I have ever enjoyed on a plane.

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