From the category archives:

through the looking glass


Jerry: “I can’t go back to coach!”

This is from the 52nd episode of Seinfeld “The Airport”. The Hyperlink takes you to an 8-minute long collection of the best scenes from this episode. Watch from 7:20 for one of my favorite lines from my beloved TV series:

“Do you realize the people back here are getting cookies?!”

I don’t know why. I just loved it even back in 1992 when I had no idea that I would be flying frequently. In coach, nonetheless…

This post could have been titled “WTF Wednesday: How the Other Half Lives”. But seeing how it is already Thursday and I have been cheating via backdating a lot lately, I will just skip a WTF Wednesday post. This should help with my image anyway: soon I fear I will only be posting WTF posts and nothing else. Since my life seems to be full of WTF moments. Or it could just be me: I am wearing WTF Goggles as I go through life…

It suffices to say that Karma delivered. After my not-so-satisfactory-yet-definitely-great-blog-fodder-and-therefore-I-should-be-grateful-all-considered flights to Taipei, I was upgraded to Business Class for the leg between Taipei and Tokyo.

Prior to this, I had ONLY heard of the Lie-Flat Business Class outfitted for the Trans-Pacific flights. (From my beloved husband nonetheless, who will certainly get it from now on if he ever complains about his air travel…) Oh boy, was I excited. When I got to the plane, I was really nervous: I would have been greatly disappointed if for some reason this plane had only the regular Business Class seats. (Yes, one does get spoiled very quickly…) Wait. How come I could not find my row? It went straight from Row 10 to Row 19. Is it a cruel joke? The flight attendant pointed UP and said, “Your seat is on the Upper Level.”

WTF? Upper Level? There is an Upper Level? I mean: I knew there is an Upper Level on a 747 but I thought that was for the super duper Secret Society First Class seats: where they have a hot tub and possibly a stripper pole or something.

As I ascended the stairs, I could hear the angels singing, celestial music playing in the background. “Ahhhhh—–” Much to the chagrin of my seatmate, I started taking pictures as soon as I finished putting everything away. Oh my. So many choices in WHERE to store my shit that it took me a while to figure it out… (He soon exchanged seats with his wife…) I did not know that I would ever, ever, wish for a flight to last longer. Alas. It was not meant to be. The plane actually landed early. I only got to enjoy my Lazy Boy home theatre for a bit longer than two hours. So why couldn’t this flight have been diverted to Alaska? I would have been HAPPY… Very happy.

CODA: Soon afterwards, Karma delivered again. This time to balance everything out my flight from Tokyo back to Washington D.C. was delayed for TWO hours. And of course this time I was back to my coach class for the 12-hour flight. The reason for our delay? AFTER the Christmas Underpants Bomber threat, AFTER the airports around the world heightened security checks by adding a second checkpoint right at the gates for US-bound flights, AFTER we had all been searched and padded down by hand, thoroughly, some Einstein decided that it was a smart move to make a joke about a bomb with the flight attendant. She reported his dumb ass and he was hauled off the plane. Subsequently the cargo area had to be searched to rule out any suspicious material in addition to locate this guy’s checked luggage. Police and security guards were also on board to search the plane before we were allowed to take off.



I wonder what the statute of limitations is for going on and on and on about a trip one took in the blogosphere. Bear with me here: there is an urgent whining I need to unload…

WTF ASIA?! What’s up with all the skinny bitches?

If you know me, you know that I’d be the last person on earth to reinforce/subscribe to any stereotypes knowingly. I am the self-proclaimed, kill-joy, party-pooper, stereotype police. But I have to say, I felt totally out of place when I was in that part of the world last week. Actually, I felt TOO MUCH OF ME was IN the place.

I left in 1993 and have not been living over there. Throughout the years, I have become complacent. I am 5’7″, so by all measurement, I am of medium height in the U.S.  I “carry my weight” really well and I have the advantage of living in the Midwest, to be more specific, in Chicago, the #13 Fattest City in the US in 2009. In addition, I often wonder whether being Asian automatically makes me look thinner, like, here’s my theory, people cannot believe that there are fat Asian women… When I renewed my driver’s licence last year, the man at the DMV refused to accept the number I gave him for my weight.

“You look like you weigh no more than 150 lbs!” So he put down that number. Hey. I was NOT going to argue with him…

As soon as I got on the plane from Washington D.C. to Tokyo, I felt like a giant. Not only was I taller, I needed more girth. I was in the middle seat, and both of my seat mates voluntarily surrendered the armrests to me. That is the kind of nice gestures you make for the overweightI looked: neither of them filled up their seats. I could see the blue seat cushions. Like the “air between thighs” test, they also passed the “visible seat cushion” test.

As soon as I got off the plane in Tokyo, I had the vision of Godzilla rampaging through the City of Tokyo in my head. Was I merely imagining the worst about myself? I wish.

“You are so fat now!” My nephew said as soon as he greeted me at the airport. With affection, mind you.

“Have you gained more weight since March?” My mom asked. “Look at your arms.”

When I saw my dad at home. “Oh, ha ha ha. Look at you. You seem to be bigger than last time.”

At the restaurant where I saw my brother and my sister-in-law, because that is really all we do: we get together, we eat, we talk, and we eat some more,

“You didn’t lose any weight at all!… Never mind. Eat eat eat. Eat now. Go on a diet when you return to the U.S.”

My entire trip I vacillated between feeling obese and stuffing my face. Often simultaneously.

“You need to lose weight. Now eat some more!”

I love my family.

So here is the chicken and egg question:

Did I feel the urge to get out of there because I knew I would not fit in, in more ways than one? Or did I let myself grow to fit the space that was afforded me, physically and figuratively?

More WTF moments came when I was at various restaurants, roadside stands, shops, stalls, surrounded by skinny women stuffing their faces heartily with delicious food. So fucking unfair…

One of the best beef noodle in Taipei. There is a line outside on a Monday night...

Deep fried anything tastes yummy

Big giant tapioca balls, oh, how I love thee... So much so that I had 6 of tapioca treats in 2 days...

Dan Dan Noodle - a tradtional Taiwanese dish; I had no desire to go to fancy restaurants. I craved the roadside vendors and night markets...

At the basement of any department store worth its weight, there is a tricked out food court lined with shops offering any style of Chinese cuisine (and Japanese and Korean) one can possibly crave. As if that is not enough to mock the overweight amongst us, on the other side of the food court, there are always fancy pastry shops and bakeries, tempting us with the mouthwatering, intricately decorated, baked goods.

Temptations! Tell me this is NOT a case for "f* unfair!"

Another pastry shop. How many pastry shops does one need? Apparently many.

Another fancy pastry shop? No. Wait... This is good ol' Dunkin Donuts! Upgraded!


View from Above, Literally.

December 31, 2009

in through the looking glass


Happy New Year!

These are pictures taken from the plane when flying into Washington D.C. (IAD), of course, before we were told to “turn off anything with an on/off button”. It was such a gorgeous view. I simply put the iPhone to the window and proceeded to Tap, Tap, Tap to capture these images. No professional photography required.


In which I complain about my seat on the plane… *yawn*

December 27, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet I finished reading the book that I brought with me 3 hours into the flight. What now? Should have saved the book for the trip rather than greedily starting it before Christmas. With the detour to Sarah Palin’s homeland I now have an even longer flight with no reading material. And sitting in the middle […]


Ok, Sarah Palin, you got me! Now what?

December 26, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet I am in Alaska. More specifically, I am sitting on the plane on the runway. In Anchorage. We have to make the emergency stop here because a passenger passed out en route to Narita. Although he looks rather young, he apparently has suffered a heart attack recently. He is also traveling by himself, with […]


Flying 8,108* miles home

December 26, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet I bet’ya that I was given the best Christmas present this year. Hands down. I will be flying home. Today. By myself. A while ago I wrote about how I wish I could go home and see my parents. Many of you commented that I should just take the trip… Before it’s too late. I want […]


Bring your swimming trunks when you visit the Crown Fountain in Chicago…

May 27, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet This is one place that we keep on going back in downtown Chicago, the Crown Fountain at the Chicago Millennium Park, lovingly nicknamed the Face Fountain. Public art pieces based on water features are known to draw people together, inviting people to participate in shared activities and to create an ad-hoc community. Here is […]


Air China aircraft with the famous Beijing Five (Olympics mascots) pretty sure taking pics is not allowed?

April 5, 2009 through the looking glass



SOGO Department Store in Taipei : There is a recession here in Taiwan?

April 2, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet From what I was told, yes there is.    This is inside the SOGO department store in Taipei.   So who is buying the Hermès, the Louie Vuittons, the Tods, and the Cartiers? I guess it is the same everywhere you go. The top of the pyramid is not really affected despite the global […]


I finally saw it with my own eyes! Sound machine inside public toilet to mask the embarrassing noise…

April 2, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet I have heard about this along time ago: Japanese women often flush the toilet as soon as they enter the stall to mask the embarrassing noise people naturally make when in the bathroom. This act of civility turned out to waste a lot of water resource. At first, they tried sound machines with music, […]


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