Friday, August 25, 2006

There and Back Again

My brother and I just got back from Washington D.C. about 24 hours ago. We drove 10 hours there, spent the night at a campsite sans tent, drove to D.C. in an ethereal cognitive haze, acquired my Z-visa at the Chinese embassy (which took all day), and drove 10 hours back. It was one of the weirdest trips I'd ever been on. On the surface, it would appear to be the type of trip one would do for sight-seeing. But the only sight-seeing we did was for filler in order to pass the time from 11:00 in the morning until I had to pick up the visa at 2:30.

As some people know, I have trouble sleeping. I often wake up several times a night. Typically, when I sleep 8 hours, it feels like I slept 8 hours. Not in a good way either. After arriving back from D.C., I slept like a baby. Better than a baby. In fact, babies were at my bedside all night taking notes in order to figure out how I sleep so effectively. Therefore, I've arrived at a conclusion: In order to get a full night of regeneterative sleep, I have to drive 10 hours, sleep for 3 hours on dirt and rocks, and drive 10 hours again. Its the only way.

The visa acquisition process was awesome. They were incredibly efficient in there. It makes me highly optimistic about Chinese bureaucracy. I got my ticket, number 181, and the first number called was 172. Granted, I didn't have long to wait regardless, but they got to me in less than 10 minutes. The line moved so fast that I thought I was on a roller coaster. I almost threw my hands up in the air screamed, "WoooooAAAAHHHH!!!" as I got to the booth. I'm not sure if that kind of thing is grounds for immediate visa denial though.

The waiting area was home to a plethora of interesting characters as well. Most of the people there were Asian. I would say Chinese, but I'm not bold enough to make a judgment like that yet. They could have easily been Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Mongolian, or NORTH Korean. Of the people that weren't Asian in some way, shape, or form, we had a healthy mix of older folks who may have been there for vacation purposes (or possibly for adoption, maybe?), creepy-looking single fellas who had "karaoke" bars and "massage" parlors written all over them, pretentious-looking single fellas who looked like their entire goal for going was to accumulate bragging fodder, and whatever category I fall into. After talking to Luke for a bit about it, I began to have the scary feeling (but likely erroneous) that the purpose of my traveling might actually be for comedic value. I have to look within myself and ask, "What inspired me to go to Asia in the first place: A valid learning experience and personal growth or Most Extreme Elimination Challenge?" I sincerely hope that I don't find a lot of American arrogance (Amerogance?) in Beijing like I did in the U.K. and France, even if I do find it secretly hilarious.

I got my prescription medication ready though, everything needed to combat the gastrointestinal devils that will likely possess me once I start eating and drinking in Beijing. So that is exciting. All thats left to do really is pack and prepare mentally for the flight over thats approaching at dangerous speeds. I leave on Tuesday. And despite the fact that Luke hates the term, I really can't wait.

...

I'll rub that in some more.

I can't wait, Luke. I refuse to wait. It is impossible for me to wait any longer. I'm so totally excited about going that my body cannot function because it is being forced to wait while I clearly can wait no longer.

I was a jerk 5 years ago, I guess I still am.

7 comments:

Dan said...

I was thinking about you yesterday while choking on a Werthers Original...

I was alone doing some gardening at my nan's house when it happened. During those few very worrying moments, those times in Charlotte when I picked out the bananas from your box of runts flashed by. Now I understand why your mom doesn't allow you to eat them. Anyway, I survived.

That's not related to anything, but I'm glad your visa thing went well, and Good Luck!

Drew said...

At least some form of memory flashed by for you. When I was choking to death, the only thing I was thinking was, "Oh my God, you idiot. You're cause of death will be 'Banana Runt'".

Glad you pulled through!

Lauren said...

I apparently am out of the loop when it comes to banana runts (even though I decidedly do NOT like them - yech!), but I did almost choke to death on a Skittle once in intermediate school...

Anonymous said...

"I cant wait" is just silly. Your gonna have to wait. Theres no way around it. Why not just say your "looking forward to it". Then at least your not just trying to fool yourself into thinking you can bend time and space to your will to actualy shorten the wait time. Anyway, it was a fun trip. I like going places on short notices to complete some kind of mission. Then I can pretend Im some kind of supper spy. Though the truth is Im just lazy and slighty over weight. Truth sucks.

Anonymous said...

oops. drew told me to sigh my comment and I didnt.

Lucas wrote the last comment.

Anonymous said...

With your birth date being 8/11/81 I always thought those 2 numbers were significant in your life. It just dawned on me reading this that they still are. Your number at the visa office was 181 and your flight number to Beijing was 851. How about that.
Dan, I'm glad you survived and thanks for understanding.

Anonymous said...

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