Another school year, another Glee Club tour! This one is a little special, because it’s an international tour to Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.
Days 1 and 2 were spent getting to the airport and sitting on a plane for 14 hours as we rode over the wide Pacific Ocean. At some point, I had a few mostly useful musings about flying in an airplane:
“HGC left San Francisco an hour late, because the plane was too heavy and they had to decrease the weight by removing a pallet of mail from the freight hold. We flew on a 747-400, a plane whose iconic fuselage evokes a sense of adventure from the outside, but a cramped claustrophobia from the center seats of the middle section. We’ve been in the air for about seven hours, so a little more than halfway there. Lunch was chicken and rice, salad, bread, and ginger ale.
“Long haul plane flights create a strange limbo, a pause in time and space. The movies play, the hands on my watch turn, and the plane icon moves across the vast blue expanse of the screen, but I remained confined to the space between the two walls, and at times, just my seat.
“With my body so constrained, my mind wanders, as if to compensate. It is terrifying to consider just how much water is between the Californian coast and the Taiwanese shore. I flit from California, to Taiwan, to Boston, trying to figure out what time it is in each place, what life looks like to people who can feel solid ground beneath their feet and see an open sky over their heads.
“Fiction has an interesting ability to modulate my perception of time that becomes more apparent when other things which have the same ability – exercising, singing, spending time with loved ones – are unavailable.
“It’s 9:25 PM, Pacific Standard Time, and I need to stay awake until we land because it’s the middle of the afternoon in Taipei.”
I took a few short naps, but I mostly watched movies and talked with my seatmates. Eventually, we did get back on solid ground, and after a relatively smooth walk through customs and bus ride to the hotel, we were hosted by the Harvard Club of Taiwan for a casual dinner. The food was delicious and the hosts gracious, so I returned to the hotel ready to rest.