Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Did you know the Olympics are playing all night long on NBC? At least here, at my hotel in LA they are. I watched more than I should, waiting for the need to sleep to take over. It came, and hovered, but I have not slept much. I was up to hear the first guests leave, rolling their bags past on the cement sidewalk that rings the courtyard outside my door as they left for what must have been a 5:30 flight. And since 4:30 I’ve listened to the planes taking off every few minutes. Busy airport, LAX.

I had a six-hour wait at LAX on my way out to Asia, a month ago, and enjoyed some people-watching. Many of the people at the international terminal seemed to be in uniform…. Not just the airport employees, the people who picked up the trash or worked in the restaurants, and the cute Singapore Air and JAL flight attendants. Many of the passengers, especially the young, seemed in uniform as well. I saw a whole group of young people whose T-shirts indicated they were on their way to the World Youth Day in Australia. They were accompanied by a group of nuns. Other young people, also advertising their purpose on their T-shirts, were apparently heading for or returning from a work-project (short-term mission team?) in Virginia. (No doubt a few youth groups in Virginia get out to LA for just that sort of thing as well!) A large group of Asian adolescents sported shirts were emblazoned with “I [heart] Taiwan.”

Well, I will go back there in a few hours, this time to the domestic terminal, and finish my journey. Until then, even if I cannot sleep, I am comfortable, with a soft king-sized bed and lots of pillows. In a way I feel I’m getting my money’s worth, awake to enjoy the tea and pillows, Olympics and internet access. And the breakfast room opens in an hour and a half now.

My 13-hour flight from Taipei was fairly comfortable, too, so perhaps I got more sleep than usual. Isn’t it funny how in those situations you can never be sure how much you sleep? For once I chose the perfectly comfortable outfit and wasn’t too cold or too hot.

My large, loose cottons and sneakers did made me feel dowdy, though, especially when I ran into some (rather highly placed) colleagues with another organization, a couple of men on whom I wouldn’t mind making a positive impression. They had been attending an organizational conference similar to the one I was at a few weeks ago – even at the same hotel. And here we were on the same international flights back to the States. Small world.

1 comment:

Dad said...

I'm so happy that you are almost home. Welcome back.