Strange and wonderful things about flying around the world

Jonah Hall:

1. Flying over the North Pole.

2. Landing in Reykjavik, Iceland. Someday we’ll stay in Iceland for more than two hours. I kept thinking, “These could be the great-great-great-great-great grandsons and granddaughters of Vikings!”

3. Being swallowed by the automatic doors of the Paris Metro is embarrassing.

4. Seeing a boy, maybe eight years old, on the Paris Metro. Natasha says, “That’s what ours might look like.” And he’s beautiful. His mom stands next to him. She is mixed, part Algerian maybe. He has high cheekbones, lush blondish brown waves of hair, and wide dark brown eyes.

5. Learning to say thank you in every language is one way to understand gratitude.

6. Double espresso and a chocolate beignet. Merci.

7. French pugs and American pugs are both very pugly and sweet.

8. Landing in Doha, Qatar. Very likely the only time I’ll ever be in Qatar, the only country that begins with a “Q.”

9. The whole world flies through the Middle East, but only Muslims, Jews, and the military seem to visit.

10. On the touch screen of Qatar Airways planes, you can always find the way to Mecca.

11. The chanting of Thai Buddhist Monks at a wedding ceremony is trance-inducing.

12. Thailand is not warm, or hot. It is sweltering.

13. A fifteen minute speed boat trip to Ko Samet Island, off the coast of Thailand, with the wind whipping up around you might make you feel awake and alive and rejuvenated. The feeling of endless schlepping subsides for a few minutes while you notice the young Thai ferry employee with the bulging forearms, who takes this fifteen minute trip eight or ten times each day, holding on for dear life with one arm, with his eyes closed to shield them from the wind and the spray of the water.

14. Fire dancers are metaphysical human beings.

15. Old friends are like the tide. Sometimes they inch closer and make the world seem small. Other times they drift away and make the world too large.

16. At red lights in Thailand, the prayer flowers are sold in between the lanes. Instead of fuzzy dice, the flowers dangle from the rearview mirror.

17. Sitting in the Bangkok airport and looking around, you realize that the whole world visits Thailand. And some go to the airport in tank tops and flip flops.

18. Audio books are called “Talking Books,” on EVA Air, a Taiwanese Airline.

19. Searching for movies on EVA Air, you will find Mission Impossible: 3 under “Timeless Classics.”

20. In my experience, Asian babies rarely cry on planes.

21. Most of the world’s airlines employ youthful females as their flight attendants.

22. On EVA Air, the flight attendants have a tray on which you place your plastic cup for coffee or tea. After the meal, the coffee lady comes down the aisle. You place your cup on the tray, she pours the coffee. If you want cream or sugar, you take it from the tray with your cup. This whole process cleverly removes the stress of bouncy pouring and passing of small cups.

23. Circumnavigating the globe by way of the airplane is exhausting, though it is preferable to the boat.

24. If you just keep going east, you will eventually turn back time.

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