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Thursday, January 23: Day 276 – Time Travel

This is a travel day with 12 hours of time change that really does move us back in time. We flew from Chiang Mai to Seoul. We left Seoul at 10am and arrived in NYC at 10am on the same day.

While in the Priority Pass Lounge, there was a beer machine that fills from the bottom of a special glass. I wanted to see how to worked so Rob got a beer at 7am. Watch the video here:

Just outside the lounge was a napping room. It was dark and people were sprawled out all over the floor.

The decor in the airport was unusual with snow-covered Christmas trees among Indian teepees.

We called Donna who had a doctor’s appointment today. She is in a group of about 8 pregnant women who deliver around the same time. They meet on a regular basis and discuss issues related to pregnancy. Each meeting has a theme for discussion. Many of those women have delivered already. Donna is one of the holdouts. It looks like we might be present at the birth.

Anyway, a man came over to say that his daughter will be delivering on February 1st and gave us his well wishes. I exclaimed that I didn’t realize that I was talking that loud. We both agreed that Americans are loud talkers.

It is time to go to our gate. I see this sign.

I wonder why there isn’t a Christian praying. Christians can pray whenever and wherever. No special place or position needed. We pray constantly throughout the day. However, since it isn’t listed, perhaps those who don’t know the praying habits of followers of Jesus Christ may think we don’t pray. Hmmm.

When boarding the plane for the US, my name was on a list for additional searching. When they scanned my boarding pass, an alarm went off, and I and several others were taken aside. They looked through my carry-on and swabbed my hands, handbags, and shoes which had to be removed. They are looking for explosives.

I can see the headline now:

“Soon-To-Be Grandma Detained in Seoul For Suspicious Activity

We boarded the plane at last. “At last” was prophetic as we were literally in the LAST row. We are right next to the bathroom and the flushing sound is VERY loud. The A380-800 is a double decker jet made by Airbus.

I watched a Chinese foreign film called Looking Up. It was very good. It was interesting to view a slice of life filmed from China. It aided my understanding to their way of life from family pressure to education stress to trying to be different.

This father was an engineer and was sent to prison when a bridge that he built collapsed. It was a lifelong stigma for him and his family. Once out of prison, he wanted to help raise his son.

One time they got separated during a flash flood, and the father couldn’t find his son, but knew that he was in trouble. He grabbed a megaphone and told his son to look around him for the answer on how to escape. Use what you see. It was one of the many moving scenes.

I tried to find if the film was based on a true story because quick photos and what happened to the main characters were flashed on the screen during the credits. But an Internet search was not able to pick it up. I did learn that there are many infrastructure collapses in China due to corruption.

I dozed some after that, but there was a young child that had mastered the blood-curdling out-of-nowhere shrill scream.

I gave up trying to sleep. I watched a few TV comedy shows. Then I started to play solitaire and was hooked. I had to learn how to use a joystick.

I won a few times and was even listed on a leader board with other insomniacs. I hurried and finished my last game as we were landing and was able to post my name in the #1 spot. I attribute my successful time to the imminent shutting off of the game system.

Rob and I had applied for Global Entry and would be interviewed upon arrival to a USA airport. Rob asked the agent who was reviewing our passports where we needed to go.

His reply was, “Just like a Scorpio, always wanting something!”

“I know, because I am one,” he cheerfully continued as he viewed our birthdates listed in the passports. He escorted us to the interview rooms of Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Global Entry means that one has the opportunity to be TSA-approved thus allowing for quicker trips through security and faster digital reentry into the country. This has a cost but was provided for free of charge when I signed up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The credit card just raised their annual fee by $100 which was already pricey. I will not be renewing but happy to have the Global Entry.

When you have Global Entry, a penalty is stiffer for bringing in agricultural products, for example, since they are putting trust in you.

We are issued a photo ID which is good for FIVE years. Oh great. I had been wearing a stocking cap and had a severe case of overnight flight bedhead.

The first thing that I noticed once back in the USA were coats. I had seen at most a jacket on our travels. It was below freezing and since we had been following the sun, it was a shock to see everyone in heavy coats.

Our next flight was from NYC to Raleigh-Durham. This was a much smaller plane. Rob’s head touched the ceiling. Low ceilings were common in Southeast Asia but not as much in the USA.

A drinking fountain! So many things that we took for granted and now notice…the water quality and the air quality.

We got our cute little red rental car. It is a Kia Rio.

We drove to our Airbnb which is about 15 minutes from Donna. I fell in love with this darling little house. Maybe we will just move here so we can be close to our granddaughter!?

I started a bunch of laundry. I hadn’t seen a dryer in 8 months. Therefore, I hadn’t experienced static electricity… or chapped lips either!!

Lastly, we went grocery shopping. Wow! That was such fun. Cheerios, Triscuits and cottage cheese. I begged Rob that we go on a rice fast. We compromised with a small bag of rice.

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