Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Testing mindfullness

How mindful are we upon departure? The pick-ups go pretty flawlessly and all is well until we are just about to get on the highway, when our driver pulls over and says he needs to restart the computer, in the hopes of getting a warning to stop beeping. Now the car won't start. We try for a few minutes, then I call Victor, who gets up and comes to get us. At literally a moment's notice he will get out of bed and drive a three hour round trip. This is love.

I look out the window as we are about to push back from the gate. There is a guy in a blue polo and khakis out there with what looks like a phaser in his hand. He's striding toward the front of the plane. I flash back to scenes from the early Star Treks, Kirk, Spock and McCoy on an old Earth, trying some scam to get back to the Enterprise and their own time. He's got on earphones, do they cover Vulcan ears? I listen for the whine of the phaser, hoping it's set on stun. I suspect what he's holding is actually a bar code reader. Do they need to check the plane out of the airport, like a book? It seems incongruous to think that something as large as 777 could have a tiny bar code on it's nose to read.

The safety announcements on the plane are pre-recorded, including the one to the flight attendants to be seated for take-off. Is there a pilot? Or are we a drone? Who is flying this machine? We had to wait to push back from the gate until everything was downloaded into the computer. I had an image of a sync cable attached to the nose of the plane, like my iPad, downloading enough books and movies for the flight.

We have a menu for the flight, which include "cod with asian style sauce" -- all I can think about is the movie "Airplane" (which we watched with Chris or Mike a couple of weeks ago). Everyone who got sick, had the fish. Dare I?

The view out the window looks like a Japanese painting. The sharply peaked snow covered mountains and the turquoiuse rivers winding through very green hills.

The ATM, you need to know the kanji for yen and for 1000, neither was yet in my vocabulary. I ended up with roughly 30 dollars instead of the 300 I was trying for.

You needed a PhD in engineering to work the toilet in the ladies room (though the directions were Englsih, as well as Jaoanese, Korean and simplified Chinese characters, which may have been my problem!)

Rice paddies like glass mosaic from the plane, the blue roofs, now the paddies are shimmering in the sun, the plants just touching the surface, acting like a diffraction grating. Paddies where the plants are taller look like corrugated cardboard, but bright green. Architecturally, this is the most distinctive place I have been outside of Oaxaca.

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