Hello, world. A lot has changed since my last posting to this blog. In fact, for a long period of time there, my blog here had ceased to exist. At any rate, it’s back and so am I. It would take too long to go over all the changes that have happened since my time in China so I’m not going to go into great detail in order to recap all that has happened. Instead, I’m just going to summarize and do my best to resume normal posting, starting with today.
I had a marvelous time in China. I met some amazing people and had some amazing experiences. I traveled across the entire continent, went to most major cities, and also many smaller cities. I even went to Thailand for a couple of weeks and SCUBA-dived the reefs and wrecks off the Andaman Sea. I ran down the Great Wall of China, visited the “Old Dragon’s Head” (where the Great Wall meets the Bo Sea), explored many temples, toured the Forbidden City, cruised down the Yangtze River via ship, touched the Three Gorges Dam… man, I did a lot. But, now I’m back in America, and have been for some time.
I’ve returned to school here in the United States, to Asheville, NC, studying aviation. I am approximately one semester away from two A.S. degrees in aviation — Career Pilot Technology and Airport & Aviation Management. I have a pilot’s license now and I’m about halfway through my instrument certificate training. I’m returning to China in a month with my girlfriend to spend the entire month of December in Fushun, and to visit my best friend, Ricky Molnar, in Wuxi. But, right now I’m sitting in a hotel room in Greensboro, NC, in a Holiday Inn with a room next to an overly-loud couple who have been throughly enjoying each other for the entire evening since my arrival.
I arrived here from Asheville, NC, on an instrument flight-plan with my flight instructor, who has a meeting tomorrow morning with the local UNC college. The original plan was that I would fly him over, drop him off, and return to Asheville under visual flight rules, returning the following day to retrieve him, also under visual flight rules (since I, as of yet, do not hold an instrument pilot certificate). Unfortunately, the days have been getting shorter and are already quite short — and a 500’-thick overcast layer existed from approximately 5,000’ across the region bordering the mountains. By the time we landed in Greensboro (where I made a fantastic approach to runway 5R and equally exceptional landing) it was already getting dark and the overcast layer showed no signs of dissipating. We both agreed that it would be wise for me to stay the night in Greensboro and fly back to Asheville tomorrow under instrument flight rules with him on-board instead of attempting to scud-run underneath the overcast layer through the mountains of North Carolina at night. In hindsight, that was, absolutely, a very wise decision.
He invited me to dinner with his daughter and her husband. We met them at their house. I got to meet them and their new puppy, a mutt named “Ranger”. We went to a Village Tavern restaurant and I had a wonderful grilled teriyaki chicken dish before my instructor drove me to my hotel, where, upon reaching my room, I was greeted by the passionate cries of my temporary neighbors who were obviously mid-coitus. I left my flight-bag, removed my uniform short, and went to the hotel bar by the lobby whereupon I downed two IPAs and a plate of deep-fried onion rings while reading the entire Wikipedia entry on the Khmer Rouge. Really interesting stuff; Crazy people Pol-Pot and all them were!
One of my friends works out of the Greensboro airport as a maintenance technician and he’s picking me up at my hotel room in the morning for breakfast. Looking forward to catching up with him. I’ll be leaving Greensboro for Asheville by around noon with my flight instructor in tow. All should be uneventful. Some pictures from today’s flight and my beer at the hotel are included below!