June 25, 2014
On Thursday June 19th I flew into LAX airport, navigated the unique airport and recovered my luggage. After gathering my valuables and finding a shuttle that was speeding along at a rate almost too fast to catch I arrived at the hotel. After checking in and and taking my baggage to my room I relaxed and waited for the next step. I reflected upon my options and noted that I should gather some sustenance before we had a Peace Corps gathering to talk about training. A few moments later my new roommate Jimmy entered and after talking for awhile and chatting about food he gladly accepted joining me to make the walk to In and Out Burger.
In and Out Burger is a respectable food chain and some would argue that it’s one of the best burger places around (it is made fresh, has good ingredients, the list goes on -etc). Something else to consider about this particular location was that it was right next to LAX. It’s so close that you can see and hear planes fly nearly over the establishment about once about 3-4 minutes, at least at 12 noon pst (This airport is literally that busy - it has 8 terminals). Needless to say the wait at the fast food joint was pretty long but they dished out orders with lightening fast reflexes. It was as if Henry Food had decided to go into the fast food business as opposed to making the Model T. Alas I digress..
After sitting down to eat food while talking about the Peace Corps we went back to the hotel, signed in, greeted our fellow 82 Peace Corps Volunteers and then divided up into 3 teams where we would meet volunteers for a training session about what to do and how to behave in China. It was rather general but it served as a good time for reflection and a means to think about the core principles in a more meaningful way before we boarded the plane to Thailand. One especially cool part of the training involved small groups of people in our orientation class receiving scenarios that might occur while we were in China. Our scenario was something along the lines of:
While you are at a big banquet with the administration staff of your school, who you want to become closer with. You are offered many alcoholic drinks and you are toasted to many times and are starting to feel drunk and are becoming uncomfortable. You want to quit but you realize that your respect with the administration will greatly improve if you drink with them and they currently are not big fans of you. What do you do?
After talking with my group I convinced them that we could present the topic as a skit while I narrated the situation in a freestyle rap. After working hard to create our situation we pulled it off and it was pretty successful. I felt good and my group was also really happy. We had good performances outside of my freestyle but they worked together perfectly.
After finishing our training for the day we all relaxed for a bit and then decided on a place to snag dinner before turning in for the night. The next day we were dropped off at the airport and waited for nearly 3 hours to check all of us in. We showed up about 4 hours early for our flight but we almost didn’t make it onto the plane. Regardless we departed on the plane and arrived safe and sound in Thailand. You can see some pictures of me in Thailand above. After getting in later we checked into the hotel and got about 4 hours of sleep.
The next day we woke up, went to the airport early, had a fast check-in and fantastic breakfast at the airport. We all roamed around at our leisure and got on the plane successfully. After managing all of the above we arrived in China. We made it. After about 72 hours of travel from Detroit to China and sleeping only about 12 hours during that time we finally made it. It’s been a blast ever since and I’ll tell you more later but for now it’s time to get some sleep.
I’ll update again soon.
Goodnight from China,