I’ve never sat so long in my life.
I can’t thank Dave Hoffis enough for his friendship, insight, drink vouchers, and upgrade to a seat with leg room. (I am rotating my thanks often through all of these.) I think that I would have lost my mind (and ability to sit) a couple of hours ago.
The process of getting there is amazing. I started from Burlington, VT this morning on a bumpy-but-on-time flight to Chicago. While there, I made the discovery that Whatsapp needs a phone signal to do its thing. So, moving to Facebook Messenger for calls, for now.
As I write this, I’m just about over far northern Canada, taking the Santa Claus route north, then due South to Hong Kong. I’m about 3 hours into the flight, with 12 more to go.
I’ve seen the quiet best in people and the louder worst in some. My seatmates have been somewhere between antisocial and feral – I’ll take the quiet, gladly (save for the poor Chinese lady behind me with an oft-howling 3 year-old).
The trip has gone off without a hitch. My wife is an amazing woman. I’m packed to size and weight requirements and she’s handling two households and pets. I miss her and the kids already, but hope to share all that I can via WiFi and pictures.
And my contract has gone crazy. The pianist whom I was to replace on the Queen Mary 2 due to illness is returning in almost 3 weeks (knowing some of the details and being married to a nurse, I am most concerned for him). So, my people at Proship were able to restore my original contract – that means that I’ll leave the ship in Dubai, fly to Cape Town, board the Queen Elizabeth, and sail through the Canary Islands to port in Southampton, through the Balkans to St. Petersburg and back to port, to Spain and Greece and back to port, then fly home. I’m still a month short. (Perhaps this is why the car didn’t sell and the house didn’t rent – it all works out.)
Now it gets interesting…. If I bring my Body Mass Index down from 38 to 34 (about 30 pounds}, I can work on Cunard’s sister cruise line. So, I’ll hit the crew gym and lose the weight. The bottom line is that I will be compensated with a job for losing weight in 6 weeks’ time. My sons and my dear friend Richard Tenace inspire me to make it happen (along with cash).
(The 3 year-old is now kicking ny seat, hard and fast. I think that my look transcended the language barrier.)
When I land in Hong Kong, a driver will take me to the Panda Hotel, where the incoming crew will be whisked away to the ship in the very early morning. Rehearsal and Gig One will be on low power.
11.5 hours to go….
8 hours to go. It is constantly light outside the cabin – the shades are drawn, but cracks of bright light. The time is 10pm EDT, but flying over the Arctic, I think we must be already on Hong Kong time – following its longitude due South. So, 10am Hong Kong time. No way to know, as United has no flight information – no satellites to ping up here….
And I have arrived. The driver was there in front of the McDonald’s – except the airport McDonald’s moved three floors. After twenty minutes and asking the right questions, I was on my way.
Not much to see in the dark. Sleep, but not too much. I want to get to the shuttle early, well before 7am.