The Marty Chronicles Part 1: “Hotel California”
I am currently on the plane hurtling through the air towards Kunming (昆明), the capital of Yunnan (云南) province. I think groups in the past took trains, but with the incident at Kunming’s train station this year, we (or at least the travel agent) opted for the plane.
Today passed incredibly slowly for me - perhaps it’s because I didn’t do much. There was no school (or there “shouldn’t” be - Gaoxin had school) so I relaxed, packing with Diego, doing some online course work, and generally being a bum. But 5:10 rolled around (eventually) and I made my way to Gaoxin to get on the school van with the 8 others and the wushu teacher, Zhang Laoshi.
After Burger King at the airport and just lounging around, we began to board. The lines moved pretty quick (per Chinese style). Amir, Izzy and I had a nice talk with Zhang laoshi, the wushu teacher. I’m really glad she’s coming with us, as she seems both serious and relaxed at the same time, and is very open to conversations with us.
The planes boarding process was like bam bam done, let’s fly. We began to taxi as people were standing and getting ready, something not seen in America.
What am I currently doing on this 2 hour flight?
Listening to <Let it Go> and pretending it’s about my math responsibilities.
The limits never bothered me anyway~
I like the little boxes of flavorless food this airline gave us. It was nice to taste something bland after pretty much 2 months of new spices.
I’m kidding but then again I’m really not (but I am)
I can’t help but think this plane ride is too short. Thinking back on the great experiences on the trains, both the short ones and the overnight, I wish we were able to take a train.
I looked out the window to try and see city lights, but saw something even cooler - lightning!
I’ve never seen lightning close up, nevertheless from a plane. I don’t really know how to describe this: maybe it’s simply an indescribable experience or maybe I’m just not eloquent enough to do it justice, but I tell you this, it was amazing.
At first it was just an attempt to look downwards to try and catch a glimpse of city lights (I thought an announcement said we were landing soon), but a quick flash of bright light caught my eyes. Then it was a strike of lightning, off in the far distance. It was a sinister mix of purple and white light against the dark canvas of the night. The bolt seemed so clearly defined that I could see little branches coming off of it.
And then the sky right next to me was illuminated. Again it was the same purple and white fighting against the dark navy of the night. The clouds were hazily outlined, and cast ominous shadows that’s told me we were now at cloud level.
This continued for a long time, during which Josh, Mr. Wolf and I (okay, mostly I) oohed and ahhed at this marvelous display of natures capabilities. When we finally broke free of the clouds, I could still see flashing strikes.
I’m a suburb girl (not quite street smart to be a city girl unfortunately…) and I’ve never really seen this kind of display. I’ve never been hiking or camping, though now I desperately wish to. Josh, Mr. Wolf and I then talked for the rest of the flight about awesome natural things we’ve seen. Sadly enough, I could only contribute sights I had seen off of reddit…
We talked about me wolf sailing from Hawaii to San Francisco and seeing the stars and florescent lights in the ocean, Josh’s amazing night stargazing in Tanzania (which I’ve heard and wanted to go since long past) and my dreams of traveling Iceland (and Northern Europe), seeing the aurora borealis. It felt a little funny, talking about traveling while we were traveling though. And that’s one thing China Exchange has instilled in me: a insatiable desire to go out in the world, too see marvelous sights, meet interesting people, and just explore.
Our tour guide is singing a unaccompanied version of <Hotel California>.
Welcome to Kunming everybody.