The plane ride
New York Travel Blog› entry 2 of 3 › view all entries
We sat on the runway in JFK for four friggin hours. "If you look to your left, you may see some rain clouds. That's why air traffic control won't let us fly."
I knew the plane was supposed to leave Monday around noon and get to Narita Airport in Tokyo in the early afternoon Tuesday (with less than two hours to make my connection to Bangkok). And I knew that this 24-hour time differential had something to do with the International Dateline. But it was still surprising to see the map on the airplane seat screens. The map showed where on the globe it was day and where it was night, and I realized that we were traveling with the sun such that our entire 13 hour trip which would take us from Monday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon would be in sunlight the entire time. There was a day difference, but there was no nightfall and no daybreak. Luckily, I was able to quickly check the Star K's website from my phone before we took off to figure out what to do about davening. It says that tefila has to do with day and night, but not with the calendar. So you just daven mincha before dark, and maariv after dark when you arrive in Asia, and it doesn't matter that Wednesday's maariv (i.e. Tueday night) was preceded by Monday morning's shacharis some 15 hours prior. I also brought the Feldheim guide Halachos for the Traveler, but it wasn't as detailed, and the advice it gave wasn't entirely consistent with the Star K's. It just says you have to put on tefillin again and daven a tefilas nedava. So what I did was to daven mincha with tefillin when I arrived in Tokyo.
We passed over Alaska on the way here. I like Alaska, they have mountains, nature, oil, and corrupt senators. I'm going to visit Alaska one day. Maybe bring me back a caribou head as a souvenir.
The TV system on the plane kinda sucked, and the controls were built into the armrests so you couldn’t lean your arms down without pushing buttons, screwing your movie up. Plus there were other bugs in the software; I really can't imagine that an airline would pay so much money for such a faulty system (shoutout: American Airlines developer contractor - you suck!). But I did see a couple great movies, including the most awesomest movie ever: Kung Fu Panda.
The woman sitting next to me was transfering to Beijing to see her son compete in the Olympics. He's from Trinidad. Root for him.