Sep 5, 2005

Return flight

My return flight to Beijing from the US helped me ease back into the Chinese way of life.


The adjustment started on the 12 hour flight as I witnessed an old Chinese woman who was in a tizzy because she desired two adjacent coach seats she could sprawl out on to accommodate her back. American airline corporations give minimal consideration to providing additional customer care to coach passengers, and the whole Confucian elderly-respect thing is not part of their corporate philosophy. There was nothing the stewardesses could do, as there were no empty seats. It was an unfortunate situation that couldn't be resolved. Hopefully someone suggested to the woman that next time she address this problem in advance by arranging for a business or first class seat, or just purchase two adjacent coach seats. Considering Chinese live in extended families and pool resources, it's a shame the woman's family didn't arrange for her to have more comfortable arrangements in advance.


After a Melatonin- and wine-induced nap, I woke up to use the lavatory. The previous passenger neglected to flush and left a parting gift in the bowl, thereby allowing me to re-adapt to the cultural characteristics of sanitation and consideration towards others when in public.


After passing through the Beijing airport, I was adjusted. Something that happens without fail whenever you exit the baggage claim at Beijing airport is the barrage of “Har-LOW, Taxi! Har-LOW!” emanating from the gang of unlicensed cab drivers, who seem to have a collective IQ of 50. After having been through that airport enough times, I'm used to it and it's more of an amusement now.

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