Happy Hours, Emergency Landings, and Fun with Battery Acid
What I Did On My Winter Vacation – Part Two
By Dave Fox
Still Mostly Somewhere in America
(Continued from yesterday.)
On January 3, Kattina and I woke up from our New Year’s Eve reveling to dive into Globejotting Happy Hour number two at the Naked City Brewery. We welcomed some innocent newcomers into the Globejotting cult. We had 16 people in all, including, Gaylloyd Sisson, one of my prodigious former writing students, who has been finishing his first children’s novel. (As a writer, not a reader.) I’m not at liberty to divulge the details, but watch for this man’s story. It’s going to be big.
Happy hour number three happened three days later at the Wynkoop Brewery in Denver, Colorado. I didn’t think Denver could top Seattle in crowd size. I lived in Seattle for 16 years. I’ve never lived in Denver. But the Denver happy hour crowd exceeded the Seattle contingency by two people – thanks in part to out of town guests. Jim, one of my online writing students flew in from Reno. And by bizarre coincidence, Warren and Betsy Talbot of Married with Luggage (my guests on episode one of the Globejotting podcast), happened to be passing through town on their endless, worldwide journey. Add a few people from the Scandinavia tours I used to guide, an Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop hooligan, and a couple of other writing students; it was a raucous event I had trouble tearing myself away from.
After that, I worried San Francisco, on our way back toward Asia, might be anti-climactic.
Personal message to San Francisco: I apologize for ever doubting you.
The SFO happy hour at the Vesuvio Café, one of Jack Kerouac’s former hangouts, drew the biggest crowd of all. I counted 22 people, although I counted them after consuming a couple of Jack Kerouac’s favorite cocktails, so my crowd estimate might be wonky. Linda, another of my online humor writing students, flew in from Florida (!) wearing her alligator head bicycle helmet. She wears this, she explained, because in Florida, alligators always have the right of way.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any more, ummm, unusual, my pal Juliet came strutting into the bar with her mother. This was unexpected because Juliet lives in Singapore. Her mother lives in China. You might remember Juliet from my article last August: Salsa Dancing for Giraffes and Other Dumb Ideas. Juliet and her mom had been traveling around the US, and were passing through San Francisco on their way back to Asia. They did not ask me to salsa dance, therefore I allowed them to stay.
Our flight home to Singapore via Hong Kong was a convoluted journey. First we were delayed an hour on the runway in San Francisco while the flight crew filled out paperwork. Then we were slowed by headwinds and heavy turbulence. The turbulence seemed to flare up whenever our flight attendants served beverages. Then the pilot announced we would be arriving late in Hong Kong, and many of us would miss our connecting flights, which was fine by me since I haven’t been to Hong Kong in several years and was thinking an overnight stop there would be fun. Then, 13 hours into our 15-hour flight, I glanced up at the video map and couldn’t help noticing we were not actually flying in the direction of Hong Kong. We were way too far north. A few minutes later, our pilot announced we’d be making an unscheduled stop in Beijing to admire the smog, and also because the gas gauge was getting low.
Having never been to mainland China, I thought this sounded kind of cool. But we were not allowed off the plane, and were told to please be patient — kind of like when parents stop for gas on a family road trip, and there’s a really cool waterslide park across the highway, but they tell the kids to be quiet and keep their seatbelts fastened. Granted, we were allowed to unfasten our seatbelts, but only if we promised not to fight with the other passengers.
We did finally take off again, and land in Hong Kong several hours behind schedule. Sadly, we were rebooked on an overnight flight rather than given swank hotel rooms with jacuzzis, so instead of spending the night in Hong Kong, we spent the night on another airplane and landed in Singapore just in time for breakfast.
After breakfast, I slept for 10 days, except for a couple of days when I was called to be a substitute teacher for a sixth grade science class and had to reprimand students for throwing stuff at each other near beakers of battery acid. But that’s another story for another day.
The bottom line is: I am home now, and back to work on Globejotting.com. There is cool stuff coming up in the next few months including more stories from my recent Burma trip, an upcoming week in India, an enthralling new series of writing classes, and an online scavenger hunt. I will tell you about all of these things soon, but first, I must take just one more nap.