Saturday, January 24, 2004

Uncle Gary

I would have posted these pictures and my entry about my trip to Davis, CA last weekend sooner, if I hadn't become deathly ill after I came back. But better later than never I guess.

First of all, the traveling part of the trip was even more disastrous than usual. I left work at around 3:30 on Friday so I could rush to the Newark airport in New Jersey to catch my 6:30 flight. Of course, the flight was delayed for half an hour. Then I got on the smallest jet plane I have ever flown on. I admit that I'm not the tallest guy in the world, yet when I was walking around in this plane my head almost touched the ceiling. My seat was in the one column of seats that lined the left side of the plane. Next to my seat was the aisle, and then two more columns of seats. While taxing down the runway, I felt like I was riding in a slightly taller SUV. This plane must have been designed by the guy who designed the 7 1/2th floor in Being John Malkovich. I pity the poor bastard (can't imagine there being room for more than one pilot) in the cockpit who probably gets shit even from the 727 pilots.

Anyways, my plane arrived in Minneapolis at 9:26, but my connecting flight, scheduled to depart at 9:21, had already left. I was therefore in a really pissy mood when the ticket agent at the gate told me that the next flight to Davis departed in the morning next day. "This is all the compensation that I would get?" I asked in a really surly manner, when she handed me a Holiday Inn voucher. She looked at me like I just asked for her firstborn. "You are getting a free voucher to stay at Holiday Inn," she said, wearing an almost stereotypical midwesterner bovine expression on her face.

I actually didn't mind staying over night in Minneapolis because it meant I would be able to see my parents. But the thought of me rushing out of work early to wait an hour and a half in the Newark airport for a plane that departed almost 40 minutes late, only to miss my second flight by 5 minutes really irritated me. My parents were stoked to have me home for the night though. On the drive home, I found in the car one of the tapes I brought back from China, given to me by one of my uncles for Dad. I expected to hear classical Chinese music or Peking Opera after I popped in the tape. Instead I heard rap in our Lanzhou dialect set to heavy metal. I laughed my ass off while imagining my uncle and my dad bopping to Chinese gangsta rap. This tape almost made up for my flight delay.

The next morning I got up at 6 and hopped on the 9:15 flight to Davis carrying an extra bag of food from the parents. A girl sitting in the next row eyed me jealously as I switched from my aisle seat to the center seat and stretched myself over all three seats in my row because the other two seats were empty. I felt like such an asshole because the plane was pretty packed, but I also felt entitled to a little extra space because I had to walk for miles in the Minneapolis airport as a result of an airplane gate change.

Jianfeng, my brother-in-law, picked me up at the Sacramento airport, which is the smallest airport I've ever been to. The concourse I was in (there are two) was so tiny, the ticketing counters were only some 50 feet away from the baggage carousels. After about 30 minutes of driving through what looked like endless farmlands in clouded, depressing San Francisco-like weather, we finally arrived. The first thing I thought was, damn, they are getting so much more room for the same rent as I'm paying! Then I walked into their bedroom and saw Cindy for the first time.

TO BE CONTINUED. Sleepy time