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Charlotte–>New York–>Seoul–>Guangzhou

Asiana Airlines took me over the Pacific and to my final destination in the South of China. I was very impressed with the experience of flying with them. The dominant colors of the interior decorations were beige and coral. It was a new plane, a clean plane.

I noticed that there were more flight attendants that I was expecting. I’ve been on international flights before and I’m sure there weren’t so many attendants on those. These ladies were so sweet and so slender, and wore red aprons embroidered with multicolored flowers. It seemed they were always watching and would appear out of thin air to help you do even the most menial tasks. I hesitated for a second to open the restroom door and an attendant had already grabbed the latch and opened it for me. Actually, it became a joint effort because I was just as quick to respond by pushing the door in as she pulled back the latch. I didn’t want her to think I was an idiot.

Immediately after takeoff, the attendants passed out headphones, slippers, and hot rolled washcloths. Everything a passenger could want!

For the first meal (the equivalent of a dinner, but served at 2 pm), I was able to choose Western or Korean. The Western menu had a couple items on it including a steak with chocolate cake…the other item I can’t remember. The Korean menu had only one option: A typical Korean dish called Bi-bim-bap. (A funny note: I couldn’t remember what it was called when I was making notes for this post on the plane so I wrote “Bim-pim-bao” with the hope that it would trigger a memory. It didn’t, but I later found the menu with the correct spelling.) The attendant that served it to me gave me a little pamphlet with directions on how to combine the multiple condiments and side dishes in the main bowl to enjoy the meal properly. All together it was steamed rice with minced beef and vegetables with spicy red paste and sesame oil mixed in. There were a few heavily spiced side vegetable items that were pretty tasty too. Instead of chocolate cake for desert, I was offered a bowl of fruit—honeydew melon and cantaloupe.

For a drink, I chose jasmine tea, but ogled the alcoholic beverage list for a while. I wanted to try the Korea liquor…don’t remember what it was called. Everyone was offered a cup of coffee in addition to his/her meal. Attendants walked back a forth a few times with coffee thermoses and trays carrying cream and sugar for anyone who needed a caffeine kick. If you wanted coffee, they would hold the tray out and wait for you place your coffee cup on it so that they could serve you. How cute. Little details like this really please me. Finally, after clearing the food trays, the attendants came around with more trays carrying cups of water.

Right after dinner, every single window shade was systematically lowered. In the middle of the afternoon. I thought that was funny. I guess it was to allow the passengers to adjust their body clocks. Also, the aprons came off and cardigans came on. A uniform change! I love it!

There was a little girl sitting across the aisle from me who was very cute. When she wasn’t laying across the seats for a nap or standing on top of her seat in her panties and a t-shirt, she was engrossed in the many games and toys her mom had packed for her. My favorite was an entire bag full of the many pieces of a cat family’s picnic setup. I mean, there was a family of cat-people figures (so, wearing clothes) and everything that they supposedly brought to a picnic (doughnuts, muffins, tea pot, etc.). She played with it for hours and never lost enthusiasm.

For breakfast, I chose Kimchi beef and rice with a side of pasta salad, a bread roll, and mixed fruit bowl. To drink I ordered pineapple juice. Coffee, of course, was also served. For airplane food, it was pretty tasty. I ate EVERYTHING down to the last grain of rice, as I am notorious in some circles for doing. I am aware after reading several guidebooks and tips online that I will have to adjust my eating behaviors if I want to fit in in China. I realized a little too late that I had finished my meal before anyone else around me had, which was a little embarrassing. Oh well, so sue me. I’ll learn.

I watched part of one of the Twilight movies on the flight from JFK to Seoul. It was the one with the wedding and the “it” baby that grows overnight, and all those filler scenes of vampire blood coursing through Bella’s veins. To be honest, the entire movie is filler scenes. Close-ups of Kristen Stewart’s three multimillion-dollar expressions: “Worried,” “insecure,” and “irritated.” Some actress we got here. All of the acting was terrible, actually, and the dialogue was worse. But can you blame them? I mean, look what they had to work with. Those books should be burned and not because Stephenie Meyer imagined vampires that sparkle, but because she writes with the sophistication of a eighth-grader. It pains me to think about all the resources wasted to produce millions of copies of her sub-par literature. It pains me even more that most of her fans don’t even realize that they’re reading sub-par literature. Let it be known to the world that Americans write, read, and absolutely love sub-par literature. Anyway, back to the movie…Yes, we can blame them, “them” referring to every single person responsible for creating and marketing the Twilight movie, because nobody was forced to turn crappy books into crappy movies. Acts of free will, my friends, and contributions to the degeneration of American film culture.

I’m done ranting now and have one positive thing to add: I had a very pleasant and engaging extended conversation with the passenger who sat nearest to me. We hope to stay in touch.

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