I spent the past two days flying back to Beijing from the Twin Cities. I say two days because, due to that bizarre thing we call the International Date Line, it takes 32 hours to travel 18 hours. So I left the Twins on Monday afternoon and arrived in Beijing late Tuesday night. Of course, going the other way is even stranger–travel for 18 hours, and arrive only 1 hour after you’ve departed, or sometimes and hour before you departed. Anyway, it’s a fairly easy trip these days on the big bird with the red tail (Northwest Airlines), with only one short layover at Tokyo’s Narita airport.
I’ve decided that Narita is something akin to pergatory. Northwest uses Narita as it’s Asian hub, so a dozen flights descend around the same time, everyone gets off and gets on other planes and goes off to other places. It seems like hardly anyone ever gets off and actually enters Japan. The terminal is just full of people coming from one place and headed to another. The scary thing is that, after 20 years of flying back and forth I’m so familiar with the transit area that I even know where the best bathrooms are…the ones down in the basement lounge that nobody seems to know about. I guess it’s a sign you travel too much when you know every nook and cranny of Narita.
But I digress. Here’s the point I really wanted to make: I’ve been flying around the world since I was one. My first flight was from Pakistan to the US–back then–we’re talking WAY back–that was a 3 day trip! Yet I never cease to marvel at what air travel allows, namely the quick movement back and forth, not just between two cities, or even two countries, but in many cases between two worlds. The two worlds are separated by a big ocean (and believe me, the Pacific is BIG), but air travel allows me to go back and forth between them with an ease that is, at times, frightening.
I fly over an ocean and land in another world, whichever direction I go. Amazing!