The Most Comfortable Bed In The World

After a 1 1/2 hour long bus ride, a 2 hour flight, an 8 hour layover, a 6 hour flight, and a 13 hour flight, I was ready to for some r&r at the Clarion Inn in Houston, just a short drive from the airport. I didn’t check in until 11:15 and I had to be back at the airport at 7 the next morning, but once I collapsed onto the bed, I knew the few hours of sleep would be definitely worth it. Nothing against SE Asia, but it was good to be in a decent hotel room again where the shower was strong and hot, the toilet worked, and the bed wasn’t too hard or sagging in the middle. It was actually probably the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in and I’ve slept in a lot of hotel beds. Who knew it would be at the Clarion Inn in Houston, Texas?

The journey from Bali to Panama City, as I first stated, was long and tiring, but one thing I’ve learned about long journeys is that if you don’t think about them much, you sort of fall into the rhythm of traveling and time seems to stop. You enter a limbo world of airplanes, airports, and hotel rooms, until the trip ends and you suddenly arrive back in the real world, many hours and even days after you first started. Time just doesn’t seem to matter. Unless, of course, you only have an hour to catch your next plane, you’re in an airport you’ve never visited (in this case, Beijing), you need to go through customs, you don’t have a boarding pass, and you have no idea where to get one. I was sure I would miss my plane, but after 20 frantic minutes of asking official looking people where to go without any official answer, I was approached by a man in all black who handed me a piece of paper, which just happened to be my boarding pass. It wasn’t a printed boarding pass, but had my name and destination written in in blue ink and seemed official enough. I have no idea who the man was, how he knew I needed a boarding pass, or where he got my information, but I didn’t stop to ask questions, just thanked him, hurried through customs and security and then, ironically, ended up standing at the gate for 45 minutes. It was strange.

After 13 hours in the air from Beijing to New York, I had a 2 hour layover in the Newark airport and was looking forward to grabbing something to eat and walking around for an hour. I should have known better. When you fly into the US of A from any foreign country, it’s not a simple matter of debarking the plane, getting a stamp in your passport, and moseying your way to the next gate. Instead, it’s an hour and a half affair of waiting in line, getting asked questions like “how can you finance a two month trip as a massage therapist?”, waiting at the baggage claim for your bag only to carry it 100 meters to drop it off at security, waiting in line again to get another boarding pass, taking off your shoes, belts, jackets, etc… to go back through security, and finding your way to the gate with 15 minutes to spare. At least I got to walk around.

So now I’m in Panama City. I explored the city a little bit, looking for a place to eat, but didn’t find much because it’s New Years Eve and everything is closed. Tomorrow I return to the airport to meet the incoming guests and drive two hours to Colon to board the Sea Lion. My journey is almost complete! This one at least…


6 Responses

  1. I think that man was your guardian angel in disguise!
    Strange indeed!! Happy New Year Becky! You amaze me in so many
    ways! Thank you for sharing all of your journeys with us! We can
    only dream,….. as you live this wonderful life! Have a safe trip
    back to the ship! Love you!

  2. You took the words right out of my mouth, Karen! Did the guy have a golden glow around his head, Becks? Great blog! Can’t believe that after all that you have to be the gracious host today. I think I’d need at least another day of sleep!

  3. Or Big Brother (no not Will) Looking forward to seeing you soon. Love Dad

  4. Welcome home Becky, you leave me breathlessly awaiting to read about your next adventure…..your blogs are like reading a wonderful non-fiction novel!!!!!!

  5. Becky, I can not get on my site so I am using your Dad site. Really enjoying your writings. Swimming with the sharks sounds like a wonderful experience. Will is staying with us. we do not see too much of him, he leaves very early in the morning. when I was in canal zone I visited Barra Colorado and spent some time on gatun lake .take care. love, pops

    • Hi Pops! Great to hear from you! We stop at Barro Colorado as well. There are some great trails and we almost always see monkeys. Hope everything is going well in VT! Love, Becky

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