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03: Cross-check for departure

5:00am EST

wake up, drive to DCA, fly to Atlanta


11:45am EST

begin flight to Seoul


12:00pm EST

I'm glad we spoke before I flew

If you'd been with me on the plane

I would've blown you a kiss

From two rows ahead


But you're far from me now

And my kiss would shiver through Chicago to reach you

So instead I'll send one from Burma

Where it will be warmer

And somehow against its military's rules

To do so.


1:15pm EST

first in-flight meal: chicken and rice


3:45pm EST

Standing at the rear of the plane near the flight attendants, as I always do because of my back's discomfort with sitting, I open the small porthole window shade and am delighted to look down upon endless miles of ice caps, delighted and surprised not only because I've never before seen such terrain, but also because for the past two hours all the plane's window shades have been shut, in observance of what the flight attendants are calling a resting period, which has made the whole plane grow dark, and then subsequently luminous with the glow of 100 in-flight entertainment screens, for use by those who can neither sleep nor dare to stare out the window upon the endlessly unchanging whiteness of ice, the flatness of which makes me doubt the flight attendant is correct in saying we are passing over the Canadian Rockies, but the beauty of which makes me unconcerned, as a boy leaps from his seat, presses his face against mine and the cold plastic porthole, letting out the long, loud woahhh of wonder.


4:15pm EST

I ask the Korean flight attendants for another one of those chicken and rice meals.


4:20pm EST

The sun goes down, wherever we are.


6:00pm EST

confined to my seat, because of turbulence, and everything is still dark


7:30pm EST

I watch 500 Days of Summer and wish I had picked something else


8:53pm EST

I learn that the flight attendants have beds upstairs.....I learn that there is a second story to this plane? I ask to join them, and they very courteously deny me.


9:05pm EST

The flight attendants are going to 6 different beauty salons and spas upon landing in Seoul. That's what Korea is good for, they say.


9:30pm EST

Regardless of the time, I wonder if the sun ever rises at these latitudes in the winter. Still dark, with the seatbelt sign still on, I take to wandering the aisles and avoiding all instructions to sit down. I find personal pizzas in the second drawer of the kitchen to the back right.


11:00pm EST

still stealing pizzas


11:30pm EST

got caught stealing pizzas, but the flight attendants don't care, and for some reason they don't taste as good now


1:00am EST

I watch a very sad documentary about elephants.


2:30am EST

We finally land in Seoul, where the local time is 4:30pm.


3:15am EST

I have to go through security again and the Koreans find and confiscate my two pocket knives that I always manage to get past the woefully inadequate Transportation Security Administration of the United States of America.


4:55am EST

flight from Seoul to Yangon, Myanmar.


11:13am EST

Finally, I land, and I am too tired to write anything anymore. Thankfully the local time upon arriving at my hostel is midnight.


11:57am EST

Goodnight, Yangon.



+ & -

John


More from Myanmar to come.

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