Over the Pacific in Socks and Sandals
We have officially left our previous lives behind. Our previous lives and all of our shoes, that is. We are on our way to Thailand where the lows are in the 70s and shoes just didn’t make the cut. I am proud to say we both were sporting socks and sandals on our flight to Asia.
We just arrived in Taipei after our 14 and a half hour flight over the Pacific. While long we were able to enjoy the luxury of an emergency exit row.
The beginning of the trip was officially hilarious and fortuitous. We arrived at LAX with plenty of time to spare but were greeted with a huge line at check in. Surrounded by families taking boxes and boxes back to Asia the security guard looked at us and our sparse luggage, and said “what that’s it?” gesturing to our bags and ushered us to the front of the line.
At check in the China Airlines employee wanted to see our itinerary for our onward flight out of Thailand. Given that we had visas, and an onward flight was required in order to get the visas, we didn’t print out an itinerary, figuring it would be fine. Funny thing is we have made this exact mistake before when we flew to New Zealand. As a result we missed our transfer from Sydney to Christchurch and we had to spend an extra 11 hours in Australia.
Luckily our ticket agent was looking out for us. She said we had to have the itinerary and I was taken into the office to print it out myself. I hopped over the scales at the check in line and into their office. I opened up the Air Asia itinerary in my gmail, downloaded the pdf and hit print. Next thing I know the printer is spitting out pages and pages of gibberish and no itinerary is in sight. The other employees start yelling at me and each other in Chinese. It was clear they were annoyed that I was wasting all of their paper and ink. In the end I got it to work and got out of there without another problem. I was mostly so thankful that they had let me into their private space to print the itinerary amid the melee that is international check in. I am sure this will save a big headache in Bangkok. As icing on the cake we were upgraded from the bulkhead seats we had booked to the emergency exit row and sent on our way.
On the plane we shared our row with an American-born minister who lives in the Philippines. He was a great flight companion, setting the tone for our departure with his well-put and cogent philosophies on life and marriage. He reminded us that wherever we go the most important thing to remember is to treat everyone with respect. A little tact can go a long way towards positive relations regardless of any language barrier or cultural difference. He also reminded us that in marriage (as well as in travel) nothing is really that important. Stop and reflect on what it is that seems to be the problem and if you can’t explain why it is such an issue, then maybe it isn’t an issue after all.
Here’s to respect and communication for the rest of our travels!