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.