Now I Remember

Ten hours in the air from Seattle to Tokyo. Only six and half more to Saigon. I have to say, the flight couldn’t have gone better; good service at check in, a shiny A330 freshly washed on the outside and clean on the inside, a welcoming cabin crew, decent food, and on time at both ends. I like Northwest Airlines. Too bad they merged with Delta. The evil empire eats them up, but for now they still have some pride.

The good flight and service notwithstanding, now I remember why I hated flying those long overwater flights out of SFO and JFK. As a crew member I was fidgety after 2 or 3 hours and we still had 7 or 8 to go. As soon as I could I transfered to Berlin and I loved it; six take-offs and landings a day and home in your own bed almost every night. I confess that when I thought about an airline job I was seduced by the exotic places and the prestige of Pan Am. I’m not sorry in the least that it was the only airline I applied to, but I had one hour fighter pilot’s ass and I had no idea how miserable it would be to sit in the cockpit for 8+ hours.
This entry got interrupted after I tried and failed to get it posted in Tokyo…
The Tokyo layover was almost three hours, and before we left Seattle we bought day passes for the Delta Sky Club lounge. I have to say, I’m glad we did. It was well worth the $50. It’s such a different world from the one outside in the boarding area. Chairs are comfortable. There are tables for computers, a selection of small snacks, and whatever you want to drink. I had a couple of pieces of shrimp sushi and a beer and Marilynn had some fruit. It’s a real oasis when you feel like Sisyphus pushing the rock around. We actually felt rested when we blasted off for Saigon.
We arrived at Tan Son Nhat airport about midnight on the 2nd, having crossed the International Dateline somewhere along the way. I remember Tan Son Nhat from when I flew in and out with Pan Am during the war. And, when we were here for our bike trip in 2007 it hadn’t changed a lot from that time. Now it’s bright and full of white marble and high ceilings. It’s bustling and modern and reflects the new Vietnam.
Coming out of customs we were met by the amazing young woman, Van Ly, I’m going to be working with at East Meets West. It was so nice to see a welcoming cheerful face at the end of the 24 hour odyssey/ordeal. She whisked us out of the brand new terminal and into a cab heading for the hotel. Ten hours later we were having lunch with Van and Thu Hang the other pillar of the EMW staff here. What a day… and night.
Now it’s 5 days later; we hit the ground running and we’ve been jammin’ ever since.

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