Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Polar Route to Taipei

Got a ride to the West Falls Church Metro with Mary and Grace; a little tricky finding the entrance to the station, but finally made it. Had plenty of time for the Washington Flyer to IAD, so we all hung out at the stop for a little while.. The bus came and Mary and Grace headed off. Uneventful bus ride to a fairly empty airport. Breezed through check-in and security and went to the gate (C-3). Stopped and got a water at the Starbucks and a neck pillow and small travel bag. Walked up and down the terminal til boarding time.

Had a window seat near the back of the plane (37 J); the plane is a Boeing 777 with at 2-5-2 set up. My seat-mate turned out to be from Taiwan (and heading back to visit his parents) living in Maryland.

There is a personal screen tv, so I got to see my favorite thing, the airplane travel map! The flight left IAD and headed west and north. We were soon over the Great Lakes and into Canada. There were some spectacular views off the frozen Hudson Bay (see picture above) and the landscape of the Northwest Territories. We then turned east over the frozen north, over the Yukon and into Alaska. Again, more spectacular view of mountains and snow.

The first food service was beef tips in gravy with mashed potatoes and string beans (and side salad and chewy oatmeal bar for desert). Later, around 8 pm (Eastern), things turned more Eastern with a bowl of hot Chinese noodles and a pecan wafer.

At about 8:30 pm (Eastern), we left the coast of Alaska and headed out over the Bering Sea. Lots of heavy clouds for quite a while and a fair amount of turbulence. About an hour later, around 9:30 pm (Eastern), we crossed the International date line.

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