137. Surviving the Mother of All Travel Days

Surviving The Mother Of All Travel Days: Dawn breaks at the Hong Kong airport and we know we’re in for a nightmare of a day. The flight that will take us from Hong Kong to Mexico City is actually three flights, totaling about 26 hours of air and layover time. The first one to Tokyo, on Japan Air, is a breeze because everyone knows that traveling to Japan is like visiting the future. Lots of legroom, people wearing crazy wristwatches, little TVs everywhere and the very last, relatively tasty in-flight meal we’ll be served in Asia. Three words: Included noodle sauce. The second flight, to Los Angeles, is the long one. The entire flight, we’re nagged by the feeling that we’re cheating somehow, like we’re coming home early. We assume that transferring to an international flight in LA will be just as it is in Asia – no immigration check required. And by our reasoning, if we haven’t gone through immigration, we haven’t technically gone home. Naturally, as soon as we land in LA, it becomes apparent that we’re going to have to go through immigration. Exhausted, bleary and feeling a little defeated by this, we’re then also forced to walk outside into American, Californian, air to catch a shuttle bus to a completely different terminal. There was no denying the fact that we were home. The officer at immigration even gave me the “welcome home.” I did not want the welcome home. Devastating. And then two things redeemed the day.

The first was that re-entering the States, perhaps especially in LA, felt just as disorienting as our entry into every other country we’ve visited. “These people…they’re all speaking….English.” And when I realize that I’m now actually capable of making chit chat with the woman who’s selling me this month’s copy of Vanity Fair and a bag of M&Ms;, I completely freeze up and instead say nothing. Homecoming lockjaw. And the culture shock continued with the second redemption of the day, when Amy met Betty White:

Amy is a self-described lover of The Golden Girls, animal rights advocates, and darling little old ladies, so approaching Betty White while she sat alone in the United Airlines Handicap waiting area was a no-brainer. And by no-brainer I mean there was a full five minutes of sleep-deprived hand wringing and should I or shouldn’t I because my-God-I-look-like-travel-HELL debate before she wisely worked up the nerve to approach her. The conversation was brief but a much needed shot in the arm for the final leg of the day, LAX to MEX. Twenty six hours after we started, we stepped off the final plane to the surprisingly cool breezes of a Mexico City October and it was all Buenos Nocheses and Gracias Senors as we braced ourselves for another shock to the system. Hong Kong to Mexico City? I think we earned the “Traveled Furthest To Be Here Tonight” trophy with that one.


  1. The Chez says:

    OHHHHHH MAN! I seriously laughed out loud at work when seeing that picture. Between the fact that it’s Betty White, her outfit and the tourist shirt of “I climbed the Great Wall”, I don’t know what really made me laugh more! Great stuff!

  2. amyispolish says:

    She was as sweet as can be. We talked briefly about how much we love animals and how much I love her. I was very glad to find that she was wearing ALL polyester and her boobs are about as far south as her fictional Miami home. The whole package made me very happy.

  3. z+e says:

    That definitely falls under the “things to do the next time we get married” category. Trophies. You two would definitely have one the “Traveled Furthest” trophy, amongst others, I’m sure. Such as “Raddest Exotic Wedding Gift”, “Best Bouquet Catch” (Amy), “Best Post-Bouquet-Catch Expression” (Sloan) and of course, “Wickedest Breakdance Moves During a Wedding Reception”. Although, I think that waiter might’ve given you a run for your money on that last one.

  4. Charles says:

    Wow! How tremendously exciting everything just got on this TV show. I mean, Betty White! Great pictures of noodles and Amy’s shirt! And now, the anticipation of what’s going to happen in Oaxaca, which is one of the best places on earth (really!). Sorry for all the exclamation marks, but this is good stuff.

    And happy birthday in advance Sloan. I can’t wait to see the pictures.

  5. Sloan says:

    Zach, are you bringing “rad” back? Because I’m bringing back “hijinks” and together, we could be unstoppable.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Betty White rocks!! What a nice coincedence during your brief visit back to Hell-aye! I am so jealous. Awesome stuff.

  7. ron says:

    priceless. how very LA.