Around the World in
The Journey Begins
If you've been reading my website, you know that I've always loved traveling, which is the main
reason I studied geography in college and am now doing GIS (that is, computer mapping) for a
living. I love maps and, as a geographer, one of my lifelong goals has been to someday travel around the
world, a fascination that began when I was 10 and read the Jules Verne novel,
"Around the World in Eighty Days," a book that's still one of my favorites
with its wondrous and inspiring tales of exotic places. The only person I
personally know who has traveled around the world was my Dad, who was an educational planner and,
in his work in the 1960s, circumnavigated the world twice via Pan Am. For
many years, I told myself that someday I was also going to travel around the
world, and this year it finally happened.
My company, Otak,
won a large computer mapping contract in early 2008 for the government of Abu
Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), a small, bustling
oil-rich country in the Middle East. As the lead computer mapper with
Otak, my first task was to visit Abu Dhabi, meet with the client and start
collecting data. My company booked my travel arrangements for me, a
round-trip plane ticket from Portland to Abu Dhabi via Europe, and then back to
Portland via Europe the same way. But my jaw dropped when I saw my
itinerary because my ticket cost over $10,000. I've always traveled
frugally and felt that any round trip plane ticket costing more than about $500
was expensive, so spending $10,000 for a plane ticket -- any plane ticket -- was
just plain ridiculous and a waste of money, because I wasn't worth that much and
neither was anyone else. Then I realized why the ticket was so expensive:
it was in Business Class, which apparently was the norm for such travel, since
our client wanted to ensure that we traveled comfortably. That was a nice
gesture for an 18-hour flight, but I still thought it was a ridiculous waste of
money. What my company would
be spending for my 18-hour flight would be more than what most people in the
world earn in an entire year, and to me that was ridiculous.
understand my minimalist thinking if you knew that every day for the past five
years while my Otak colleagues went out to lunch at fancy restaurants, I brown-bagged
it and ate an apple and a bagel. As
the joke goes, I'm not cheap, just thrifty. Well, o.k., I'm cheap, too.
I talked to my
manager about the ticket and asked him if, instead flying in Business Class over
and back via Europe, I could fly in Coach and go around the world. After
explaining that it would cost only $3,000 to do that instead of $10,000, my
manager agreed, so I pored over Travelocity that afternoon, figuring out where
in the world I wanted to visit after Abu Dhabi on my way back to Portland.
Like I say, I'm a frugal traveler so looking at a map of the world and knowing
that I could go anywhere was a very strange (yet pleasurable) feeling, and
probably the only time that will ever happen to me. I finally decided on
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I'm not sure why I picked Kuala Lumpur, but it was
probably because of its funny name, and because I'd see it on the CBS television
show, "The Amazing Race," a few years earlier. But even with an
around-the-world ticket and a stop in Malaysia, I'd still be saving my company
I packed my bags a few weeks later and drove to the Portland airport. I
had only eight days, not eighty, to circle the globe, but I was going to make
the most of it. My plane left Portland in the late afternoon and by 10
p.m. I was flying over Hudson Bay. From looking outside, you couldn't tell
it was late at night because this was June and the sun was still shining
brightly. Most of the other passengers were either dozing or watching the
movie, but I stared intently at the landscapes below and at one point could make
out the coast of Hudson Bay. A few hours later, at around midnight, I saw the
ice-bound and craggy coast of Greenland, which was a real thrill, then several hours
later we landed at Amsterdam. A few hours after that -- I think it was
about noon, but my internal clock was so messed up by then that it didn't really
matter -- I boarded a plane for Abu Dhabi and landed there late at night after a
brief stop in Qatar.
I gathered my luggage, went through customs, walked outside the air-conditioned
Abu Dhabi airport and instantly hit a brick wall. Even though it was late at night,
it was about 95 degrees outside and very humid and I gasped. After finding
a taxi, I made my way into town and got settled. Yes, this was going to be
an interesting trip.
Leaving Portland. Only 10 more hours until
Amsterdam, then an 8-hour flight to Abu Dhabi.
Above center: The best
part of the 18-hour flight to the U.A.E, was looking at the interactive map on the
back of the seat. Sorry, it's the geographer in me!
This is Greenland at midnight. Finally seeing
Greenland was one of the highlights of my round-the-world flight.
I spent four hours in Amsterdam, enough time to load up on
Dutch chocolate and souvenirs.
Above center: And here's the
next morning in Abu Dhabi. This is the Corniche, or waterfront.
Abu Dhabi is a bustling city and the pace of growth is
frenetic. It's like the Las Vegas Strip, but times 100.
The United Arab Emirates is about the size of Indiana and
has the sixth-largest reserves of oil in the world. The largest cities are
the capital, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai, both on the coast.
Here are some historic photos of Abu Dhabi so you can see
how much it's grown. This is the Corniche about 50 years ago. Of
course, this was before oil was discovered.
the Al Hosn Fort, the only historic building in Abu Dhabi that's been preserved.
I believe this was taken in the 1950s.
Here's the Al Hosn Fort
today, totally surrounded by skyscrapers and developments. You can see how
oil changes everything.
Above center: The fort
and "downtown" Abu Dhabi in the 1960s.
This is an undated photo of the Zayed Bridge, linking Abu
Dhabi Island (left) with the mainland. Almost everything you see is now
developed with resorts and high-rise buildings. The village of Abu Dhabi
is on the horizon, top left, at the end of the island.
Life in the U.A.E.
I spent about a week in Abu Dhabi and the first thing that struck me was how enormous this city was. Skyscrapers 20 or 30 stories
high line the avenues and even in the midst of the summer heat, the city was buzzing with
life. That's all because of oil, of course. The United Arab Emirates
is only about the size of the state of Indiana but has the sixth largest
reserves of oil in the world. There are seven emirates, which are
something like states in the U.S. but the confederation is much looser than the
U.S. states. The most famous -- some would say egregious -- city in the
U.A.E. is Dubai, which is about 100 miles north of Abu Dhabi and has
grown tremendously in the last decade, due mostly to finance and trade, not oil,
since the Dubai emirate has virtually no oil. Almost all of the oil in the
U.A.E. is in the Abu Dhabi emirate, making it the wealthiest of the seven
emirates, by far.
Winters in the U.A.E., from what they told me, were pleasant with high
temperatures in the 70's, but summers, as I was discovering first-hand, were
blistering hot, with daytime highs often exceeding 100 or even 110 degrees
Fahrenheit. And even though Abu Dhabi is in the desert, there's no escape
from humidity because the city is right on the Arabian Gulf, which is what
Americans call the "Persian Gulf." If you're in the U.A.E., though, you
don't call it the Persian Gulf because Emiratis (natives of the U.A.E.) don't like that name. I
had learned this a few months earlier after I made my first map for this project
and ignorantly labeled it the Persian Gulf instead of the Arabian Gulf.
The client politely but firmly corrected my mistake.
Culturally, the U.A.E. is unlike any place I've ever been. First of all,
it's a Muslim country of course, and over the next week I learned a lot about
Muslims. There's a lot of fear-mongering in the U.S. about
Muslims, almost all of which was totally dispelled for me during the week I was
in Abu Dhabi. The religion of Islam is totally ingrained in every aspect of life
here and is constantly evident, unlike religion in the U.S. which is often
practiced only on Sunday, if then. For example, the call to
prayer is broadcast over loudspeakers throughout the city five times a day,
starting at sunrise with the final call well past sunset. You can clearly
hear the call inside your hotel room, and there are small, directional arrows
inside the rooms pointing to Mecca, in case you're not sure which direction to
It took me a
while to adjust to being in a Muslim country, and while there's only so much a
foreigner can learn or absorb in a week, I think I did pretty well and
assimilated fairly easily. Like every place in the world, if you show
respect to the local culture and customs, you'll be fine.
My favorite hangout in Abu Dhabi was the Marina Mall.
Uh... just kidding. But seriously, because of the summer heat, the
air-conditioned mall is one of the most popular places in the city.
Above center: There really
are Starbucks everywhere.
Walking along the Corniche after work. It's cooled
down to 105 degrees (seriously) with very high humidity. Can you say
My cab drivers didn't speak much English but were very
friendly and curious.
Above center: Here's an
Indian market. Because the U.A.E. is such a wealthy country, there are
many more foreigners than nationals here, and many of them are from India and
I walked around for four hours one night and didn't see
one other Caucasian.
Things are Different Here
The demographic situation here is interesting. The native Emirati
population is small, less than a million, so the government imports large
numbers of foreigners, mostly single men, to do much of the work. About
90% of the population are foreigners and they do most of the menial labor, such
as construction and service work. Due to the large number of imported
workers, men in the U.A.E. outnumber women by more than 2-to-1, the largest
gender disparity of any country in the world. As I learned, there's a stratification
or "pecking order," with Emiratis at the top of the pile followed by Caucasians,
many of whom are consultants or contractors from Europe, mostly from England,
then Indians who often have technical knowledge, Pakistanis and so on down the
line. I've never liked class boundaries so this very apparent
stratification made me uncomfortable and I never got used to it.
The class system was apparent both on the streets and in the office. A few
times during the week, I saw a senior engineer at Otak, a Caucasian, publicly
berate a co-worker who was younger and from India, something that would never
happen in the U.S. One morning, I met with my client, an Arab woman
dressed in a long, black robe, in a large and well-appointed conference room,
when a young fellow wearing a white shirt entered the room. I stood
up, introduced myself to him and extended my hand -- then I realized that he was
a servant and was wondering if I wanted anything to drink. I sat down
sheepishly, but being an American, I'm not used to being served by anyone except
waiters in restaurants.
I was often treated with deference and respect simply because I was white, which
I was uncomfortable with, but on the other hand, my American egalitarian
attitude also ingratiated me with the locals at times. As I approached the
entrance to an office building one day, I noticed how foreigners walking behind
me moved to open the door for me, but instead I opened the door for them.
They looked at me first quizzically and then smiled with appreciation,
apparently not being used to Caucasians opening doors for them. Each night
after work, I walked alone around Abu Dhabi in the steamy heat with my camera
amidst the throngs of Indians, Iraqis, Afghanis, Palestinians, and Filipinos.
Many of them looked at me with curiousity and shyness, apparently not used to
seeing a Caucasian alone on the street at night. The U.A.E. is a rich
country and there's definitely a snootiness among some of the Emiratis I met,
with their extravagant oil wealth and the perks (for Emiratis, at least) that
come along with that, such as guaranteed jobs, free education and free housing,
along with no taxes. Because of that, I felt much more comfortable among
the working class than among the elite Emiratis. And by the way, Abu Dhabi is a
very safe city. I meandered each night through the streets and back alleys
with my camera taking pictures, but I never once felt in danger because personal
crime in the U.A.E. is virtually non-existent.
Another thing that was different here was the political framework. In the
U.A.E. and in many Arab countries, political power is based on family
relationships or someone's heritage or tribe, not a political party. The
leader of the U.A.E. is Sheikh Khalifa (pronounced "Shake Ha-LEEF-a)" and his
likeness is everywhere. It's a largely benevolent leadership relative to
other countries in the Middle East, and most locals I talked to thought
favorably of the sheikh. But what the sheikh wants, the sheikh gets.
A colleague told me a story that made me laugh. The sheikh's limousine,
with him inside, pulled into a petrol (gas) station one day and waited to fuel
up. The sheikh asked, "Why are we waiting?" and the driver told him that
several cars were ahead of them, also waiting for petrol, so the sheikh said,
"Well then, let's build more petrol stations." So that's what they did.
As you can probably guess, there aren't a lot of environmental
regulations in the U.A.E. limiting development, like there are in the U.S.
If someone here wants to build something and they have political power, they build
it. But that being said, the government of Abu Dhabi is also striving to
become a world-class city and a role model for the rest of the world, especially
the Arab world. They're taking steps, like developing mass transit, creating sustainable systems
and developing a detailed comprehensive plan, to create for themselves a city unlike any other
in the world, and they apparently have the will to make it happen. And
that's exactly why I was there.
Michelle, a friend from Portland who moved to Abu Dhabi
and is and now a client.
She's holding a Portland magnet that I'd sent her a year earlier for her
Above center: Easy
In the U.S., they play
baseball in the streets, but here in the U.A.E., the Indians and Pakistanis play
My buddy, Bee, in the Otak office.
Above center: Here's
Mohammed, a computer mapping colleague. Men in Arab countries frequently
wear white robes while women wear black.
Having dinner on Friday at the Al Raha Resort.
Friday is prayer day and most restaurants, except those in resorts catering to
Westerners, are closed. By the way, I
have no idea why I'm holding a pineapple.
An Amazing Week in the Desert
I spent a week in Abu Dhabi and was mesmerized by everything I saw and
experienced: the frenetic growth, the oppressive heat, the kindness
of the locals. Being in a Muslim and multi-ethic country was a fascinating
experience and I soaked in as much as I could, and the people I worked with were
incredibly kind, which wasn't surprising because Emiratis, and Arabs in general,
consider guests with high esteem and treat them with a great deal of honor and
At the end of the week, Colin, a colleague in Otak's Abu Dhabi office, was kind
enough to drive us around for several hours so we could get a better feel for
the area. The city of Abu Dhabi sits at the end of a large, sandy island
many miles long, but Colin drove us over to the mainland, with its large
expanses of sand and desert, dotted with settlements and occasional resorts.
This remote area was a world away from the high-rises and fast paced lifestyle
of Abu Dhabi, but vast expanses of the desert here would soon be developed.
Looking at miles of sand, it was hard to imagine that much of it would soon be
filled with communities, golf courses, and swimming pools, but I suppose they
said the same thing about Abu Dhabi 50 years ago and look what's happened there.
It was a fascinating visit and Abu Dhabi was unlike any place I've ever been.
I wouldn't want to live in Abu Dhabi because it's just too different, but I was
grateful for the time I had here. It had been an incredible week, but now
I was heading back to Portland.
In Abu Dhabi, with its frantic pace of modernization, they
tear down one building only to build another.
Above center: Hamdan Street
is the heart of Abu Dhabi. There are white taxis everywhere, including
four in this photo.
Above right: Just relax...
It's 100 degrees now with high humidity and I'm sweating
like a pig. But I'm having a great time exploring.
Above center: They're
sweating like pigs, too. I'm strolling along the Corniche on Friday
afternoon. Weekends in the U.A.E. and in most of the Muslim world are on
Friday and Saturday, and Sunday is the first day of work.
I was the only Caucasian walking around and, with my SLR
camera, got lots of curious smiles. This sedate looking fellow pulled at
my shirt and insisted on having his picture taken with me. I guess I'm a
star, just like Paris Hilton -- but with a sweaty shirt and no chihuahua.
The Journey Continues
After working for about a week in Abu Dhabi, it was time to head back to
Portland -- except, of course, instead of going back via Europe, I was
continuing on my eastward voyage. I got a taxi Friday night to the
airport, which is on the mainland and about 30 miles from Abu Dhabi. My
driver was a young Arab who was in a hurry to pick up someone, so it was a
white-knuckle ride at 100 miles an hour on the desert freeway, and I arrived at
the airport a bit shaken (but not stirred, as James Bond would say). I had
called the airline a few days earlier to reschedule my flight, pushing it back a
day, but due to a mix-up at the airport I almost didn't make my flight. The
helpful fellow at the ticket counter was sweating as he intently stared at his
computer screen, trying to find my reservation while nervously glancing at the
clock, but he finally found my reservation and printed my ticket, which I
grabbed and then ran to the gate. Yes, I literally ran but -- whew! -- I
just made it.
I settled back in
my seat for a five-hour flight to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Malaysia has a large
Muslim population, so most of the folks on the plane were Muslims, with men
their white robes and women wearing black. Of course, I didn't sleep
during the flight -- I can't sleep on planes -- but it was a comfortable flight
and at 2 p.m. the next day, the plane touched down at the Kuala Lumpur airport,
one of the most beautiful and modern airports I've ever seen.
I got a taxi and
headed into Kuala Lumpur, or just "KL" as it's known, stopping at a hotel on the
outskirts of town that I'd found on the Internet a few nights before. It
was a pretty nice place, only $60 a night, and with its open-air lobby and large
rotating fans hanging from the ceilings, it had a distinctly British colonial
feel, which isn't too surprising considering that Malaysia used to be a British
colony, including the little island at the end of peninsula nearby called
Singapore. KL is almost on the equator so it was pretty warm and humid, but
nothing like the heat and humidity I'd endured in Abu Dhabi, and after eating a
nice buffet dinner outside by the pool, I retired to my room and planned the
next day's adventure.
The Abu Dhabi airport during a relaxed moment between the
white-knuckle ride to the airport and the drama of my lost reservation.
Above center: But after
I got on the plane, I settled down and enjoyed the five-hour flight to Kuala
Flying into Kuala Lumpur on Saturday afternoon.
The Kuala Lumpur airport is ultra-modern, once of the
nicest I've ever seen. And it has shiny floors!
Above center: Here's my
hotel in KL. The open air lobby and large, hanging
fans were a bonus.
I had a great, cheap dinner that night. The beer,
though, cost me 9 bucks (yikes!) It was definitely the most expensive beer
I've ever had, but it was worth it.
Kuala Lumpur in 24 Hours
I had only one day
to spend in KL, so the next morning, Sunday, I got up early and hired a taxi for
several hours to take me around the city. I didn't know much about Kuala
Lumpur except for two things: the Petronas Towers, which had been the world's
tallest buildings up until a few years ago, and the Batu Caves, which I'd seen a
few years earlier on the CBS television series, "The Amazing Race." By the
way, that's one of my favorite shows, which shouldn't come as a surprise,
considering that it's about traveling and an around-the-world race -- kind of
like what I was doing right now.
My driver's name
was Nathan, though being from India, he pronounced it "Nodden," and he was about my
age and seemed quite jovial. Over the next five hours, Nathan and I talked
a lot and became good acquaintances. I simply asked him to show me around
the city, or as much as he could in only five hours and he first took me to a
park and war memorial called Tugu Peringatan Negara, where I hopped out and shot
some pictures. My father, who was one of the first Navy SEALs, had been in
this area during World War II and was one of the first American soldiers to
re-open the Burma Road, a critical supply line from India to America's ally,
China. And KL is only a few hundred miles up the road from Singapore,
which fell early in WWII to the Japanese, another important conflict.
Continuing on my tour, Nathan drove me into downtown Kuala Lumpur to the KL
Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world, which has an observation floor
at the top providing visitors with an astounding view of Kuala Lumpur.
There were hundreds of tourists in the tower and lots of souvenir stores, where
I got lots of souvenirs. As I realized from the top of the tower, KL is a huge
city with developments sprawling off into the jungles in all directions.
When I got back
into the taxi, Nathan told me that the city's population of 1.5 million is about
evenly divided between the Muslims and Hindus, with Muslims living on one side
of the river that divides the city and Hindus living on the other. I asked
Nathan how often he drove a taxi and he said every single day, seven days a
week, so he can provide for his wife and several children. That was a
sobering thought, that this fellow worked every day of the year without a break,
without vacation or health insurance, doing all of this to make a living and
support his family. It was especially striking to me after seeing
the gaudy opulence in Abu Dhabi and it made me grateful for what I have, and
more compassionate and understanding to those who don't.
Speaking of money,
I needed to get some cash, which I'd tried doing at an ATM at the KL Tower but
the machine wouldn't take my card, so I asked Nathan to stop at a bank. I
tried the ATM there but it also rejected my card. Yikes! Fortunately
I had about a hundred dollars in American currency in my wallet so it wasn't a
big problem, but as I later found out, my bank had put a hold on my
transactions since I'd been making withdrawals during the past week in several
foreign countries. So here's a tip: If you're going overseas, even just
for a week, contact your bank beforehand to let them know you'll be traveling so
they don't freeze your ATM card.
My next stop in
Kuala Lumpur was the Batu Caves. Of course, Nathan had never seen "The
Amazing Race" on CBS but he knew where the caves were, because it's one of the
most popular destinations in KL. The caves are on the side of a cliff, so instead
of walking down into the caves, you walk up an outdoor flight of 272 numbered
steps to reach them. The Batu Caves are a sacred place for Hindus and
there was a large mixture of Hindus and tourists there, but not a single Muslim,
the only place during the past week where I didn't see any Muslims. After
hiking up the 272 steps, I visited the caves for a bit, which is staffed
full-time by an uninhibited group of monkeys, then headed back down to Nathan's
taxi. Then it was back to the hotel for a quick shower and change, then
off to the airport.
At the airport, I
said goodbye to my new friend Nathan, paid him the fare and gave him a large
tip, then walked into the terminal and got my ticket. I had a few hours to
kill before the China Airlines flight to Taiwan and spotted my favorite
restaurant, Burger King (yes, I know that's a big disappointment to some of
you), so I couldn't resist, especially since I hadn't had a whopper in months.
Besides, I was curious to know what Burger King tasted like in Malaysia.
If you're wondering, it tastes exactly like Burger King in America, so now you
know. My plane left Kuala Lumpur at 2 p.m., so I had been in KL for
exactly 24 hours. I packed in a lot during that time and learned that KL
is a fascinating city with an interesting colonial history and a multi-cultural
population that seems to blend together well. Will I ever come back to
Malaysia? Definitely. But now it was on to Taiwan.
Here's Nathan (or "Nodden" as he pronounces it), my taxi
driver / tour guide on Sunday. He drove me around KL for five hours and I had a great time
with him seeing the city.
Above center: Nathan's
taxi filling up with gas. He said "gas" but actually meant "compressed
gas" instead of petrol (or gasoline), which his taxi also runs on. Natural
gas is a lot cheaper than gasoline.
Malaysia used to be a British colony and KL still has a
colonial feel. It's a fascinating city.
The Petronas Towers were the tallest buildings in the
world until 2004. I'm shooting this from the KL Tower, also one of the
world's tallest buildings.
Above center: Another view of Kuala Lumpur with endless
developments sprawling off into the jungles. About 1.5 million folks live
I first saw the Batu Caves a few years ago on the CBS
show, "The Amazing Race" and I've wanted to visit them ever since. The
caves are at the top.
Climbing up 272 steps was a better workout than a
stair-master. The Batu Caves are sacred for Hindus and it was the only
place in the past week where I didn't see any Muslims.
Above center: The inside of the caves is interesting, but beware of
Nathan dropped me off at the airport, where I took this
self-portrait. I have to stop taking pictures of myself in airport
Completing the Circle
The flight to
Taiwan lasted only four hours. Normally a four hour flight is something I
mentally prepare for, or at least think about beforehand, but at this point in
my around-the-world journey, it was just a short hop, nothing to even consider.
I flew into the Taipei airport at about 8 p.m. and it was dark and stormy
outside, so I decided to spend my four-hour layover in the airport instead of
venturing out and then coming back in through customs.
Nathan had asked me
how long I was going to be in Taipei and I told him about four hours, but that I
was planning to make the most of it, and he replied, "I bet you will." And
I did, by walking the entire length of the very large and multi-storied airport
and taking lots of pictures. I even had Chinese food at a little cafe,
figuring I couldn't visit China without having Chinese food, but after four
hours, I boarded my China Airlines flight to Seattle. And it's a good
thing we left when we did because a typhoon (or hurricane as they say in
America) was rolling in and an hour later, the airport was shut down for 24
hours. Now that wouldn't have been fun, sitting in the Taipei airport for
24 hours, but my plane scooted out just in time.
It was a 12-hour
flight from Taiwan to Seattle, something that would've made me cringe a few
months earlier, but I was eager to get home and by this point I'd gotten used to
it, so it wasn't a big deal. Then I took one more short flight, which
brought me back to Portland, arriving there around 8 p.m. I can't sleep on
planes so after waking up that morning in Kuala Lumpur, I'd taken a tour of that
city, eaten Chinese food in China, toured the Seattle airport, and was now in
Portland. And because I'd crossed the International Date Line on the
flight across the Pacific, it was still the same day as when I'd left Malaysia,
similar to the situation in the book "Around the World in 80 Days," the
inspiration for this trip.
The past week had
been an amazing and humbling experience. I accomplished one of my life's goals,
traveling completely around the world, and during the journey I realized how
incredibly diverse this world is and yet how small it is and how similar people
are everywhere. Indeed, those things that separate us are much less
significant than the bonds and similarities we all share. Yes, I was
exhausted but I was ready to do it all over again. And I still am.
Yep, the Burger Kings in Malaysia taste exactly like the
Burger Kings in America.
Above center: Flying to
Taiwan on Sunday evening. This flight was really short, only 4 hours, and
at this point in my journey, a 4-hour flight was just a puddle jump.
Spending a few hours in the Taipei airport. Oooh,
more shiny floors!
I made it out of Taipei just in time. A typhoon was
rolling in and in a few hours, it would close the airport for a day.
Above center: After a
12-hour flight over the Pacific, I saw clear skies over Seattle and there was
only one more plane to catch. Due to the International Date Line, I landed
in Seattle on Sunday afternoon four hours before I'd left Taiwan.
After a 41-hour round-the-world flight, I got back to the
Portland airport and proved that, yes, the world really IS round!