For some reason, the women in my family share a propensity for speaking their minds with a refreshing obliviousness to consequence. There was the time my then 110 year old grandmother who, when asked to make a toast at my cousin’s wedding, offered the following off-the-cuff gem: “Of all the guys she could have married, she has to go and pick one who already has a kid.” Or my high-spirited aunt who boisterously welcomed my sister back from her holiday in Greece, breaking the hitherto somber silence of the funeral in progress. And then there’s my mother who, upon hearing I was traveling to Asia for a couple of weeks, eschewed the clichéd “Have a good time!” or “Travel safely!” in favor of the more utilitarian: “Is your will up to date?”
Normally, the comment wouldn’t have bothered me so much (and, by normally, I mean the 360 odd days of the year when I’m not traveling by plane), but the fact that I’m not a particularly comfortable flyer to begin with made this afternoon’s flight out of Vancouver just a touch more stressful. Of course it didn’t help that we were delayed over an hour by what the Air Canada rep termed “a minor maintenance problem” (“That pesky lugnut keeps rattling loose!”). But we eventually took off a little after 1:30 p.m. and, once safely in the air, I was finally able to sit back, relax, and enjoy 14 ½ hours of Air Canada first-class service which included: two tepid prawn dishes, the customary Keanu Reeves/Richard Gere romantic snoozer, and a mysterious intermittent sprinkling of ice pellets generated by the air vent directly above my seat.
Three naps, two novels, and half the second season of Boston Legal later, and we were in Hong Kong – 8:30 p.m. local time, 4:30 a.m. Vancouver time. Let the real eating begin!