Missed Stiff Legs

        My legs hurt; it's been too long. My last trip abroad was august 2005, 16 long strange months ago. A lot has happened since then: I've moved 4 times, been involuntarily unemployed for the first time since I was ~14, met the girl I will spend the rest of my life with who happened to be married at the time, bought and started the arduous process of rehabbing a house, and etc. life-affirming adventures. But the environs have been no more exotic than Austin, Texas. It's certainly better weather/food/music than little old Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, but I think often of mountain biking in Brazil, camping in the Outback, and, most of all, the many adventures yet to be had.
        So, that brings me to being crammed into seat 35-F of American Airlines flight 169, the Los Angeles to Tokyo leg of an Austin to Hong Kong journey. Or somewhat: I'd hoped to disembark in Tokyo and bus/ferry/fly down Japan and through South Korea to meet Amanda, the strange little lady I'm so crazy about, and her family in Hong Kong after a whirlwind tour including Beijing, but I've been told by 3+ harried airline ticketers that this would anger the gods of deeply discounted airfares such that my return ticket would be cancelled no matter how much I needed it, bitched, and/or smiled.
        Meaning that the plan is something like a loop up to Beijing from Hong Kong and back down. Probably by train, because this is cheap and lets me avoid needing hotel rooms or, more importantly, wasting much daylight traveling. Then again, maybe I can negotiate my way onto a Tokyo-Beijing flight. Or bite the bullet and fly Hong Kong Beijing. Whatever: the means are not important. The ends, the adventures, are what makes days spent squished on soaring aluminum cylinders infinitely worth it.

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