My first “smooth” airport experience 

As I glanced outside the tinted window of the 747 jetliner, it occurred to me how lucky I am. Not only was I headed across an ocean to a country people only dream of seeing, Air Canada was nice enough to upgrade me to first class. So there I sat, writing and casually sipping a bottomless glass of champaign while fergie’s song glamorous played over and over in my head. 

While on the first leg of the journey, from Denver to Vancouver, I had the pleasure of meeting a long time resident of Longmont, Colorado who moved from Singapore in her late 20s. Though her story was interesting, I’m thankful not to have been in her shoes at the time. She was traveling with her family to soul, South Korea but her husband didn’t make it on the flight due to an issue with his boarding pass. Frantically, she was trying to coordinate with flight attendants in broken English about her options of reconnecting with him. Evidently her cellphone wasn’t working and she looked like she was about to have a complete breakdown. I know from personal experience how nerve racking and anxiety inducing situations like that can become. 

When we finally landed in Narita, the first thing that occurred to me what’s how efficient and clean this city is. Getting off the fight, my family and I were greeted by customs guards who proceeded to check my passport and declarations form before taking my photo and fingerprints. Despite the extra security measures, their system was so well thought out that we managed to get off the plane, grab our luggage, go though customs, and get on a train headed toward our hotel all in a matter of 15 minutes. For a city with a population of around 18 billion, efficiency is key I suppose.  

The train we took to the hotel was clean and equipped with free wifi. Since the airport was the first stop on the metro line, there was a little old man who went into the cabin before us and cleaned before flipping all the chairs around by hand to face in the correct direction. It stuck me how much pride he took in his work.  Every movement he made was done with precision and grace. Later, I came to realize that this is a cultural norm.  Though I have always heard the people of Japan were respectful and dedicated to their jobs,  I didn’t understand that it was to such and extreme degree. Watching even garbage men perform their daily duties here is an oddly humbling experience. 

Travel Talk 

Here I sit in San Francisco, waiting for my flight.  Our flight was supposed to be at 2:30. Air port delays are often annoying but I actually appreciate the time to get stuff done. Stuff like write this blog post.  (I may as well, because I just learned we won’t even get more information until 7 am in San Francisco. That’s 8 am in Denver.) 

It’s always an odd phenomenon when one travels on a flight longer then 5 hours. You somehow manage to experience 24 hours of sunrises, sunsets, and starry skies as you follow th skyline in that short span. Four hours ago I left the Lihue airport around sunset. Now I sit in San Francisco enjoying a chai latte and watching the sunset through a terminal window. 

This latest trip for me has been different than most others I go on. I usually travel for the excitement, thrill, history, and adventure. But this time it was a nice mix of all this stuff and a decent amount of relaxation. You don’t realize how stressed out you are until you have the opportunity to sit on a beach and analyze your life.  And I’ll let you in on a little secret. Most of those stress triggers might be just completely irrelevant in the scheme of things. 

Now…. Onto the details about my trip! 

The condo we and our family friends rented was near Poipu beach. This is a beach on the southern side of Kauai, Hawaii. It was absolutely beautiful. 

Wildlife and animals: 

Because of the heat most mornings I had a hard time sleeping in. So instead of laying in bead, I would go for walks on the beach every morning. There is something pristine and perfect about green sea turtles which were sprinkled on the beaches this time of morning before people took over the area. The full moon would draw them out and coax the onto the beach.  Besides the turtles, I also happened across a Hawaiian seal one morning. 

All over the island and not just on Poipu, wild cats and chickens have taken over. They are everywhere and although I was surprised by it, locals have just seemed to accept it as fact. You would think that the cat population would keep the chickens to a minimum, but the cats don’t seem to interested in the chicken buffet. 

Another interesting spot for birdwatching is the light house and national animal sanctuary on the northeastern side of the island. Around mid summer, which happens to be now, redfooted boobies build there nests and hatch eggs. The whole side of the rocky oceanfront looked like it had been toiltet papered by a group of troublesome teens… But instead of trash all those white  speaks were actually birds. 

Food: 

My favorite food island was by far the fruit. The Mango, pineapple, papaya, guava, and banana on the island are all to die for. Sweet, tangy, and delectable are all under statements. The next runners up were the locally caught sushi and shave ice. There’s nothing like fresh food and a cool treat on a very hot day. 

Adventures:

Well I would update you about these now, but they are nothing without picture evidence as proof. For example, when I went exploring canvas and remote beaches on the Napali Coast (where Jurassic park was filmed) it wouldn’t have same the effect without context of an image. There are certain things you can’t explain with words. 

a very freaky observation about Facebook

Social Media… It is a very loaded topic. In a way, it has become a digital civilization. People who use Facebook as a main source of information  are the reason that I fear for a new generation of young adults.

They say gossip spreads like wildfire. On sites like Facebook things are transferred almost immediately. The problem is that things said to the public from friends and followers are entirely hearsay.

Today, I leaned that a former classmate had passed away. How, you might wonder? I found out not through a friend, or even a real person, but rather his status. Scrolling through my newsfeed I came across a post that was created to inform “friends” that his life ended in 2015. The status was as cold and emotionless as a gravestone. It did not state anything about his life, but rather just gave a date of death. It is almost as if social media is becoming less about connecting with others and more about creating an online data base of a timeline of someones life. I took a minuet to consider how easy it would be to fake your death through a simple click of a status update. In a matter of minuets, 800 plus people could easily believe me to be dead.

Of course he will be dearly missed by friends, family, and an entire community. Posts on his wall still stream in from mourning classmates and friends… posts which will never be seen by the deceased. Although the owner of the Facebook account has passed on, his online presence still manages to linger. Still the disturbing fact is that some grieving friend or family member felt the need to update his final “status.”  There is something eerie about how this was top priority right after his death.

More and more I am starting to respect my friends who  took a stand and refused to cave into this social trend of Facebook. Either by coincidence or a connection, they seem to be more compassionate and make face to face interactions so much more meaningful. Still, my community has lost a friend, and will take time to recover from such a loss.