Friday, February 19, 2010
The Trip Begins
18 Feb 2010 – the adventure begins. We left home about 130, only 30 minutes after our desired time to leave. Traffic was so so but heavy with truck traffic about 35 miles north of Atlanta's perimeter highway.
This route though is so familiar as I've traveled it often in the last few months going to and from my parents home. So familiar that I can drive it without thinking much about it, knowing each curve, hill and turn and where Smokey is likely hiding.
We arrived at ATL around 4 pm, long term parking, no bus in sight to take us to the terminal so trudge, trudge. Not too bad. The terminal has changed a lot since I last flew through there. It seems it has been many a year for me and it would stretch my memory to recall when last that was.
Security, while a hassle was much better than Chicago coming home from China in March, 2008. We are about an hour into our 5 hour flight to Seattle on Alaska Air. For once the intro to the safety devices, exits and all that stuff was entertaining.
We are flying on a Boeing B737-900, which I guess means something to someone. This journey is 2182 miles and 5.25 hours.
Tian is full of questions and has the window seat. It is dark now as we head towards St. Louis, Lincoln, NE, Cheyenne, Montana in its vast expanse, briefly over Idaho, then across Washington into Seattle.
Ellen's aunt will be meeting us at the airport. We'll spend the night with them at their beach house near Gig Harbor. This will be Tian's first beach adventure. It is not an ocean beach but part of Puget Sound.
We arrived a few minutes early at Seattle and after baggage claim went to passenger pickup where Ellen's aunt met us.
From there we rode several miles south to Gig Harbor. The drive from the airport took perhaps 45 minutes and talk turned to the Olympics just a few miles north up the road and plans to take in some of the events by Aunt Helen's family. Bone tired, there were still some moments of smiles as Tian informed us why Chinese ice skaters were better than American ice skaters.
Candy. In America we have too much candy. Candy makes one fat. All that weight pressing down on the ice slows one down. In China not much candy thus the skaters can move faster since they weigh less!
Aunt Helen told us the ocean is about 60 miles away but the tides flow in and out of here as this is salt water. We saw Gig Harbor's commercial salmon fishing fleet on the drive in. Tian declared at this point she was on a field trip for this journey as she'll be learning lots. So while not physically at school, she will be learning many things.
From there we rode out into the country until arriving at this lovely spot on a hillside overlooking this leg of the sound. We arrived here about 1 am eastern time, bone tired. A quick view of the house and the sound below. It is a beautiful star studded evening. Then off to bed where I was asleep by the time Ellen made it to bed. Even though I was dead tired, dreams crept in, real seeming but preposterous in real life. Or at least I hope so.
19 Feb 2010 – 0530 local time. A new day begins. Already time zones are messing with me for while it is nearly 6 am here it is nearly 9 am at home, too long to stay in bed, when one has such excitement ahead – seeing a new area, watching Tian look at wonder with so many new things, exploring, asking endless questions, still we can see her brain processing all this information, coming up with her own explanations or asking further clarifying questions.
Dawn is now breaking over the sound, the water becoming visible.
Later today, early Saturday, we board Eva airlines, the Taiwanese national carrier, for a 6074 mile, 13.5 hour flight to Taipei, arriving early Sunday morning, 2/21.