By: Peter LaBerge `13

Day 1 June 13,2012 1:30pm EST

I am seated in seat 40G on Delta Airlines Flight DL173 but in reality I feel rather homeless right now.  We are in America – that remains undisputed since we haven’t even left the airport – but around me a mix of Japanese, Mandarin, and other languages fills the circulating air.  Messages are spoken over an intercom in Japanese, then Mandarin, then English. With each respective ending statement, a different group of people hold their breath not approvingly and the resume chatter with other travelers around them.  On top of all this “Lighter” by B.O.B. is playing over the intercom in between messages.  Talk about cultural clash.

GFA is currently dominating rows 40 to 41 with Mr. Llanque, Ms. Zhang, Rui and yours truly repping row 40 and Eric, Mark, and Chris repping row 41.  You can easily tell those who travel regularly to and from Tokyo from those that do not – many non-GFA travelers are already making good use of the complimentary pillows and blankets that rested on each seat before we boarded.  I, on the other hand, am filled with too much nervous excitement to even think about sleeping.  Then again it is almost 2:30am in China so perhaps we should all consider sleeping right now, but how could anybody in my position even contemplate sleeping without MASSIVE sleep aids.  I mean, seriously, Mr. Llanque joins me as being the only GFA traveler with no formal experience with the Chinese language and only a subpar app on a dying iPhone as a substitute.  We are joined by everybody else – even Ms. Zhang – with excitement to see some of the greatest wonders of the world – the terracotta soldiers and the Great Wall – just to name a few.  Actually, just thinking about all this makes me a happy combination of overwhelmed and tired.  Perhaps a nap wouldn’t be the worst thing….

8:00 EST

Seven hours to go! So far the plane ride has been an amalgamation of sudukos, movies, cranks in the neck, and college essay first drafts (no one judge me…please?). Regardless, the two largest desires in rows 40 and 41 are (in order): sleep and to get to Tokyo. Nobody, at least in row 40 has slept a particularly large amount (2 hours here). The first thing I have learned on this trip (other than the fact that shrimp tastes strange when offered in an airline dinner) is that 8 o’clock is quite an awkward time when traveling from the USA to China…too late to sleep in Chinese time (8am) yet too early to sleep in America time (8pm) so I suppose I will just sit her for a few hours unsuccessfully attempting to sleep against both time zones between which I am in relative limbo.  I am going to be one tired Shanghai-wannabe tomorrow (today? Ah…forget it.)

7:45pm Tokyo Time

We are taking off from Tokyo-Narita airport right now. I think I might be the tallest person on the plane. I don’t know, we’ll see. Right now, I am exhausted beyond belief (5 hours of sleep last “night”)!  But I cannot wait to get to Shanghai.  I can’t sleep on the flight – have to adjust to the time difference.  We are taking off.  HOORAY!!  Almost to Shanghai.

11:26pm Shanghai

It’s late. I’m tired.  Good night.


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