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08:35 am: Notes from the awesome jet

The awesome jet is a Boeing 777-300 from Emirates Air, who are perhaps the awesomest airline ever (so far as I can tell). The awesomeness started when I saw a perfectly ordinary three prong power plug in the back of the seat in front of me. I’ve been plugged in and productive for the entire flight, which is soothing my mind to no end. I’m an inveterate Powerpoint tinkerer, and the ability to poke and prod my slides in flight is like lotion on chapped skin. I’ve finished up two more sets of slides, bringing my set of ready-to-go talks to three. Coupled with Dag’s two day set of SGE slides, I think I’m pretty much set for the first three days.

The ICE (Information, Communication, Entertainment) system rocks – and keep in mind that I write this from coach class. There were four or five movies available that I actually wanted to see – out of a selection of dozens. I can pause, rewind, fast forward and so on. I can send text and email messages through a somewhat crufty system that costs $1 per communication – though I don’t have in-flight wireless. Maybe I just haven’t flown international in a while – but this is pretty darn sweet.

They also, being an airline from a Muslim flag country, occasionally indicate the direction to Mecca on the ‘flight status’ display. I get a kick out of this.

It’s been incredible flying weather the entire day. The trip to New York was uneventful, and as I write, I can see the Western coast of Europe – Lisbon to be exact – glowing below us. I’ve seen Block Island, Portugal, the Northern coast of Africa, the island of Crete, The southern reaches of Iraq, a massive set of thunderheads over Kuwait. In addition, I kept seeing what must be either military or oil cities – incredibly bright squares and rectangles of perfect organization lighting up the otherwise black ground.

Transcribed a bunch more pages from my notes on the Dalai Lama teaching of the Lamrim texts

District 9 is a decent movie. Not tremendous, but a nice break from writing slides. Nothing else really lit me up. Watched the beginning of “Food Inc,” and the high points of the most recent Harry Potter.

The food is terrific. I somehow got marked as “strict vegetarian,” which is fine with me. It means I get my meals before the rest of the plane – and the incidence of mystery meat is kept to a minimum. It’s also worth noting that the alcohol consumption on this flight is low low low. It’s available, but they’re not pushing the hooch to any degree – and people aren’t sucking it down. It’s somehow civilized.

And yes, I’ll go ahead and mention that the stewardesses are cute. There, it’s said.

Aaaaaaand, sunrise over the indian ocean. God that’s pretty.

Of course, now that I’m sitting in the Dubai airport, at 8:30 on a Sunday morning, I find myself thinking “Um, the bars are open pretty early here.” Dubai smells like Vegas, but with salt water in the air.

Originally published at chris.dwan.org. You can comment here or there.

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