Thursday, July 21, 2011

We Tell Ourselves Guangzhou Stories in Order to Live

Flight CX872, Seat 60H: Showing 1 out of 1 customer review.

Airbus, more like Amistadbus! (2 out of 5 stars)


  • inside the plane.
  • had seatbelt.
  • did not really resemble the historical Amistad.


  • One flight attendant spent the majority of our 12-hour flight flirting with a passenger standing in the galley who, the last time I passed, had just noted that he speaks “some high-school Spanish.” A request for a glass of water was met with a chirpy, “No worries!”, though she made no move to get me water or otherwise break eye contact with the hunky Hispanophone. Water took 20 minutes to arrive, was lukewarm.

  • Seat 60H is close enough to the front of the plane that you can see people in Business class getting better service than you are, but far enough back that in a LOST-type plane crash scenario, your half of the plane would break off and land in the middle of the island, no one would care when you were introduced halfway through the season, and you’d be stuck with a bunch of unrelatable characters and everyone would be rooting for you to die.

  • My mother, traveling next to me in seat 60J (seat 60I went home after being teased by its classmates for wearing 29 pairs of glasses) forwent the standard meals in favor of the “fruit plate” option which turned out to be: one small chunk each of watermelon, cantaloupe, apple, peach. Several grapes. One small, small plate of fruit. “I’m so hungry!” whispered mom, five hours outside of Hong Kong. “See if you can find me some cookies!”

    “How many packs?”


    “What’s several?”

    “Three. Four. Let’s say four.”

    Son went to galley to get cookies. (“‘¡Tengo frio!’, that sort of thing.”) Flight attendant looked up at son as he grabbed a whole handful of Snack Packs and said, concerned, “Are you sure you don’t want a sandwich or something?” Son was embarrassed, refused to get mother cookies for remainder of flight.

  • Someone vomited in one of the bathroom sinks. They tried to wash it out but you could still totally tell.

  • I had to leave Guangzhou for the last time in probably many years, possibly forever. The Guangzhou Story is also ending because I no longer live in Guangzhou. You — all of you who have read, commented, and occasionally mentioned me to friends (even negatively, or pityingly) — have been wonderful.

    Maybe if, later, I have some reflections on my Guangzhou experience, I’ll come back here and share them with you. Maybe if I ever finish subtitling a short video of Gristle I took on our May 1st vacation, I’ll post that here, too.

    For now, though, thanks for the memories. I have some plans for future web projects; if you’d like to be kept in the loop, follow me on twitter and I’ll let you know if and when I do anything, ever again.