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Random Travel Notes 3 August 31, 2007

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Up and Away.
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I’ve arrived safe and sound again in New York, which can only mean that it’s time for yet another round of Random Travel Notes!

Personal Space. In Manila, while on my way to the airport, I received a couple of phone calls from my mom, who also saw me off when I left the house. The first time, she rang to ask if I had intentionally left the ATM and credit cards she found lying around the house (I did). The second time, it was to voice her concern that I’d maybe left behind a little too much cash in my room (my “stash” for when I’d return) and to tell me she’d rather deposit it into my account. Naturally, I thanked her for each call and couldn’t help but marvel at yet another display of her maternal concern. After the second call ended, however, a thought occured to me that couldn’t help but make me chuckle: Wait a minute…did my mom just go through my things?!

(In)Security. Whenever I travel alone, I worry that someone might pilfer my things as they go through the x-ray machine while I walk through the metal detector at security checkpoints. On this trip, I was given an additional thing to obsess about: at one such checkpoint, after I’d already loaded my bag onto the conveyor belt and watched it half-disappear inside, I was told to remove my watch, put it on a tray, and have it go through the machine as well. My gut reaction was to look the inspector in the eye and yell “Hell no!”; in fact, I almost did. But rather than make a fuss, I made sure I saw the tray go through the machine before I stepped through the metal detector despite the obvious irritation of the inspector and his assurances that it was safe. I will never trust these people farther than I can throw them, and am certain that next time I’ll tuck my watch away into my bag well beforehand.

Gaming for All Ages (and Genders, Too!). It so happened that my connecting flight in Hong Kong was located at a terminal on the opposite end from the one my first flight landed, which necessitated quite a bit of a walk. On the way, I passed a toy store that had a sizeable video game display, which I didn’t give a much thought to as I repaired to the lounge. Later, while taking a refreshement, I realized I might just be able to find a copy of Ouendan for my Nintendo DS at that store since Hong Kong usually carries such Japanese import titles, and thus decided to walk all the way back on the off chance I might get lucky. I wasn’t (out of stock!), but the saleslady was very quick to try to make a sale nonetheless. “We have plenty of new games,” she said as she motioned to the shiny display, “for boy or girl or for yourself!”. I politely declined and went on my way. But on the walk back to my terminal, I got to thinking bemusedly: there’s a double meaning in that!

Single Serve. On the plane, each time I was asked for my choice beverage to accompany the meal I’d request a Coke Light. I noticed, however, that other passengers who would ask for softdrinks would be offered the entire can, whereas I would only be offered the one glass. I’d observed a similar pattern on a prior trip, and am sure the flight attendants would have been happy to top up my glass if I asked. All the same, policy or not, it’s something my girlfriend can probably sympathize with, as she often points out the irony in my penchant for ordering a large-sized “diet” something or other.

A Tale of Two Seatmates. For the first leg of my trip, I was seated beside a very well-mannered gentleman. When I travel alone I prefer to take the aisle seat and try to be as considerate to the person beside me as possible, which means (among other things) lowering my footrest on my own initiative whenever s/he has to visit the lavatory. Usually they don’t give such gestures a second thought, but this guy did and was very gracious about it. I believe this was the first time I’ve met someone like that. For the second leg, my seatmate was someone who happened to work for Electronic Arts (if his computer and bag were anything to go by). I had half a mind to strike up a conversation with him, gaming geek that I am, but thought the better of it after concluding that the tete-a-tete would go no further than “Oh, you work for EA? You guys make great games! I don’t buy any of them.”

[Prior Random Travel Notes: 0, 1, 2]

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1. In-Flight Entertainment 3 « BRAIN DRAIN - September 2, 2007

[…] in Up and Away, Reviews. trackback I seem to be going on a tear turning some of my posts into ongoing series. Along that vein, here’re the movies that occupied my attention between Manila and New […]


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