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Sunday, October 6, 2013
CHICAGO, Illinois--The last time I was in the US was 20 years ago.
I didn’t realize it until I showed up at the US Embassy in Manila last July to get a visa. The old passport showing that US visit in 1993 had long been lost.
My two daughters would’ve made their first trip there when they were 18 and 16 years old. But the interview officer denied their visa application, saying they had all the qualifications to go TNT (tago ng tago, English equivalent for going into hiding as an illegal alien).
That denial sealed my decision not to visit the US again. If my daughters couldn’t come along with me, there just was no incentive to take a US trip. That, together with the 9/11 tragedy, quashed any interest to visit that country again.
Then my first-born married and resided in the US some five years ago, and so a new incentive presented itself. This, despite the five-hour direct flight from Cebu to Seoul, Korea and then the 11-hour flight from Korea to Chicago.
That long stretch can set your time orientation awry. The narrow legroom sends you trying out different sitting positions, and stretching your legs every so often.
You also lap up all the in-flight magazines tucked in the pocket seat in front of you, including fashion magazines featuring celebrities raving over new brands of cosmetics and perfumes.
The Korean Air flight attendants constantly to-ing and fro-ing along the aisles, despite the frequent announcements about turbulence, don’t show any fatigue.
Sixteen hours up in the air can seem like a hostage situation. You’re to choose among the selections of 60 movies or features, be these Hollywood hits or new releases, documentaries, celebrity profiles, crossover icons and audio books.
Most of the passengers around are catching up on their sleep. Between my sets of 40 winks, I’ve viewed movies I would’ve have spent time on at uptown cinemas or bought DVDs of.
So, I’ve seen Nicholas Cage searching for historical proof in the City of Gold in “National Treasure,” Pierce Brosnan’s widower character finding a cancer-free new love in “Love is All You Need,” Vanessa Redgrave playing a terminally-ill wife to a grumpy old husband in “Song for Marion,” a painfully shy teenager coming of age during a summer vacation in “The Way, Way Back,” and Sandra Bullock’s stiff and condescending FBI agent in “The Heat.”
I had some indecision over “The Lone Ranger,” “White House Down,” “World War Z,” “Man of Steel” and “Mystic River.” I eventually nixed them.
Johnny Depp’s acting is too predictable, even if he plays a Native American this time.
“White House Down” the first time around was already an overkill. Brad Pitt may still be handsome and cool but zombies don’t cut it for me. “Man of Steel” was terribly disappointing, and “Mystic River” incurably depressing.
Another round with them would only have stressed the riding discomfort.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 07, 2013.