Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Back from my travels...

And I have to say, United is a very inconsistent airline. Aside from the scramble to get to NYC in time for my flight to Hong Kong, the trip there was decent. The food was good enough as far as cheap frozen dinners go (hey, I've eaten Banquet; they work in a pinch). The flight attendants were pleasant. And going through Hong Kong Customs is relatively easy; reminds me of London Heathrow and Amsterdam's Schiphol. Plus, my seat had a power outlet, so I did get a bit of writing done on BZ.

But coming back? Snappish flight crew. A power outlet that refused to work. An in-flight entertainment system that was very cranky. A fish lunch that made me ill, literally. I spent half the flight in the bathroom, and that's after taking some Imodium. I didn't want the fish, but I was hungry and the only other choice was chicken. From this point forward, if I'm fool enough to fly United I will ask for vegetarian meals or bring my own (which is what the other guy in my row did; we had a seat free between us),

What's worse is, they route through Newark and that is no excuse for an airport. I mean, Terminal B is okay, I guess, even though I couldn't find anything really interesting to eat there when headed to HK, but Terminal C is like it's still stuck in the 1950s. And Customs was a mess...though not half as chaotic as having to go through Security, again, because the people who are paid to herd us like cattle couldn't figure out left from right from up no down so just made the mess worse.

My gate was the very last one in the half-mile long terminal, and I had to sit on the floor to use an outlet for my laptop because the few power stations had a dozen people hovering about them. Plus the WiFi never worked, not even through Boingo. And I flew back on a tiny turboprop that you could hear coming from miles away. Very tight, very uncomfortable, and because it's a propeller job, takes 50% longer.

So I was awake for nearly two days going and coming...and I am feeling it. I'm coming down with a cold, too, because for once I figured I wouldn't need my coat or jacket with me on the trip...and the jet from Hong Kong was very chilly. I used 2 blankets to try and keep warm.

Don't get me wrong -- I enjoyed being in Hong Kong. Seeing people I've known for years and checking out some of the books they brought. I found a place that has the best damn Lasagne I've ever tasted...pricey, but for once worth every penny. TWG Tea! You can find boxes of the teas at Dean & Deluca, and their Mango was beautifully smooth. But here's the cool part -- they infused their Lasagne with some. They do with all their food. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, and I ate it up before I thought to take a photo. But DAMN, it was good.

For that, alone, I'd go back...even on United.

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