Back in America, Blog Break

December 20th, 2008. Categories / Dallas


I am back in America. Our plane touched down in Dallas after a long, sleepless journey from Hong Kong via Los Angeles. I’m sad that what now seems like a short 6 month Asian adventure is over. While overseas, time seemed to slow down to an acceptable rate. While the rats raced at home, they appeared to crawl in Asia. Maybe it was because the rats looked different. Our may because they raced towards different cheeses. Regardless, this analogy is spinning out of control.

This lost soul isn’t happy about being home, but is happy about seeing family again. There’s nothing more comforting than setting foot inside the crumbling and dander filled halls of the family home. My parents, as I, have aged horribly in the last six months. We are the Button family in reverse; curiously, my name in now Benjamin.

My sleeping is out of whack. I went to bed at 10PM and woke up at 3AM. It 4AM as I write this post. I have a bowl of carrots and fudge at my side.

Here are ten things I’ve noticed on my return:

1. LAX Airport is an embarrassment.
After all the sparkling new and organized airports we saw in Asia, it was shocking how aged and sad the Los Angeles airport looked. It seemed almost third world in comparison. Half finished construction, convoluted organization, stale hamburger and exhaust smelling air, cramped. I felt sorry that this was the point of entry for all the excited foreign visitors on our flight. It seemed like a slap in the face of their expectations.

2. Americans are largely impatient babies.
When our flight arrived in Dallas, there was mechanical trouble moving the walkway to the plane. People were annoyed and confused, talking on their phones and explaining the problem to whoever was on the other end. They acted like it was the biggest problem since the Holocaust. People were joking about lawsuits and all sorts of things they deserved for being inconvenienced. Seriously, people?

Eventually, the crew opened up the rear of plane and revealed built-in emergency stairs. People were led across the wet tarmac through the hidden basement of the terminal and into normalcy. The delay was 30 minutes at most. Why was everyone freaking out about 30 freaking minutes? I guarantee at least half of them were going straight home to watch goddamn television.

3. People don’t look happy and healthy here, especially in the airport.
I had forgotten that much of the population looks like sad, pasty hippopotamuses. Weight isn’t an issue in itself, but combined with sullen eyes, blemished skin, and airport lighting, the whole package is frightening indeed.

4. Dallas is sparse and ugly.
So ugly that it’s beautiful, really. There are pretty parts sure, but compared to some of the things I’ve seen recently, this city feels comically bland.

5. There is a wide variety of food to be had.
Despite being less fresh in general, there is a ton of varied food to be eaten back home. The Thai food sucks, but the problem was in reverse over there. The grocery stores have a wide variety of produce, the restaurants are of all nationalities. It’s expensive to eat out, even something basic, but not entirely unappealing.

6. I’m allergic to cats.
My body reminds me of this every time I come home and nuzzle my beloved Milo.

7. I lost weight while away.
I’m a good ten pounds lighter than 6 months ago, tipping the scales at a healthier 105 pounds (plus 60 extra pounds for Thai foot fungus).

8. I don’t like riding in cars.
This applies everywhere. I’d much rather take a train or walk somewhere.

9. It’s good to be back to copious amounts of hot, safe water everywhere.
Hot water in the public sinks. Hot, long-lasting showers. Water that’s “safe” to drink and brush your teeth with. That’s progress I can live with.

10. It feels gloomy over here.
All the economic issues have created an even more somber mood than before. Around town, there is little evidence that people are actually enjoying life. There are not the same numbers of smiling old men, laughing kids, and people just sitting outside and watching the street. There is less eye contact and certainly fewer smiles. Lame.

In other news:

I’m a little burnt out on blogging. I posted 73 fairly involved entries while on the trip and want to give my documenting mind a break from blogging until the start of the year.

If anyone reading this gives me a compelling enough reason to do so, I’ll forgo the break. After-all, I’m blogging as much for you, whoever you are, as I am for me. Just keep clicking on the ads. I want to buy a new computer.

Until later.

12 Comments


Barbara:

I discovered your blog about 6 weeks ago and have been following your travels, as well as reading the previous entries. What you write about the people upon arriving home makes me very sad though I know it’s true. I am looking forward to reading more of your adventures and wish you and Jamie all the best in the New Year.

welcome home nik! i thoroughly enjoyed reading your observations upon your return. enjoy your time off and i look forward to going through your archives now that i have a little more free time myself.

cheers!
anne

maurene:

while i love reading your blog, you deserve a break. i myself have no time or energy lately to blog. but then again, i wasn’t traipsing around asia. happy holidays!!!

c:

welcome back to America, land of Dreams, land of The Future, Land Which All Other Countries Wish to Emulate…bright, bright times are coming

A non-e-mouse:

Just post the pictures you take; especially the ones of New Years and if you do any cross-dressing or bowling pin hurling.

Nik:

Well, Scodopolis, I’ll see what I can do with Dallas photos, but I’m feeling pretty lazy here. And I don’t have a vehicle.

Rugus:

Don’t stop the, don’t stop the, don’t stop the posts pul-ease.

(that is intended to be sung to the tune of a widely adored Police tune)

When I return home from the vacations I go on, the first thing I notice is the pollution stench of the DFW airport, almost gagging. Also very very happy about the water situation as well, haha. Nice to drink from the tap or a non-carbonated bottle of water.

chris j.:

You need to change the “sup” in the masthead to reflect your current location. Then you can rest.

Yeah, LAX is the worst. It was my primary airport for four years, and I always found it bizarre that the international airport in a wealthy design/entertainment industry oriented city would be so pathetic. I’ve had long daydreams of what I’d do if I could re-do the whole airport.

I’ve had a very different experience regarding the mood here, though. Both in Los Angeles and New Mexico, my boyfriend and I have been amazed at how friendly people are in the US. We’ve met chatty people working in shops, outgoing people in cafes, and been surprised by the number of people who simply smile and say hello as they pass us on the street. That could be for economic reasons, maybe– a lot of industries have moved to New Mexico in recent years (not that many people here are well off, certainly).

And I have definitely been enjoying the variety of food over here– especially food items that were hard to get in Asia, like great cheeses and good wine. I have picked up some fish sauce, banana flower, and catfish at the Asian grocery in town to make sure I don’t go through Asian food withdrawal. -X

Scott:

Welcome home Nik! Do you have a trip to Portland in your future? Would love to meet up and learn more about your travels.

Scott

Nik:

Hi Xander,

I agree the people have actually been pretty friendly. I think it might have to do with the holidays. Plus, unlike in Asia I actually have the ability to communicate with people here. My sister lives in Santa Fe. Every time I go out to visit, I fall in love with the place. Very relaxed and ancient feeling. The people are friendly too. Mostly.

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