Thursday, July 7, 2016

D - Round About Heaven to Saint Louis

Dear Reader,

Your kawaiidesu cohort at the Oakland Airport (◕ᴗ◕✿)
Airplane flights are only as interesting as the person you sit next to.
Keep this in mind the next time you get on a Boeing 737, the only craft Southwest flies outbound. You might meet Eric G. Eng on your trip to St. Louis, like I did.

Choosing a seat on a plane is a vital moment. Most people prefer window or aisle seats. I don't mind where I sit, as long as who I sit with is interesting enough to keep me occupied for a good portion of the flight. Eyes peeled for an approachable plane mate to sit next to and interrogate for the next 4 hours, my pearly orbitals landed on a 32 year old IT project manger for Boeing military crafts, as well as an aviation enthusiast who knows the terrain so well, he could point out which cities we were flying over by their layout from 37000 feet above the ground.

How, you wonder, was this information attained? Obviously, from intense stalking. No, I kid. I take my seat in the row, and "may I interview you for a summer program" comes tumbling out of my mouth. Mauricio sits next to me, and we spend the entire 4 hours not sleeping, but grilling this interesting character with any questions we can possibly think of.

Eric (ノ´ヮ´)ノ*: ・゚ and his favorite photo of Mt. Rainier
Here are some of the things we learned about and from Eric G. Eng:
  • He was born in California (where he was visiting his family), but moved to Seattle whilst working for Boeing, then relocated to St. Louis
  • His favorite colour is green, but he's been wearing a lot of purple recently (e.g. earbuds, sunglasses)
  • Ginger ale is the most popular drink to order in-flight (prompted by me, ordering ginger ale)
  • He drinks his coffee black and prefers his eggs sunny side up if he's ordering them
  • If he's cooking them himself, scrambled, because entropy states eggs are heading towards a state of scrambled-ness anyway
  • Panera Bread was originally called the St. Louis Bread Company, originating in St. Louis
  • He is an amateur hobbyist photographer
  • He recommends eating at Mission Taco in the Del Mar Loop near UWash
  • He hopes to see space in his lifetime, and doesn't get dizzy/lightheaded on planes anymore
  • Though he got into UC Berkeley (sorry Don), he chose to go to UC Irvine because at the time Irvine was the only UC with a separate college for CS (whereas Berkeley's was connected to EECS something or other)
  • His favorite place to visit is where his best friend used to live before moving California: North Carolina
  • He likes rock, jazz, bluegrass, and classical music, and played piano from 5th to 12th grade, taught by his mother, who was a piano teacher
  • The higher planes fly, the less affected they are by the pull of Earth's gravitational force, and therefore can move faster and disturb less people
  • He has perfect vision, but was born with only four fingers on his right hand (no thumb) -- therefore, he's also a leftie
  • He's gone on about 200 flights during his lifetime and is 6 flights away from qualifying for Southwest's active flier premium perks
"I'm always curious for what's outside the window."
~Eric G. Eng
Now for the rest of the day, which was exciting but shorter and therefore not nearly as interesting.
I don't recall seeing lightning but omg there it is
We grabbed our luggage in a rush, dropped it off at the hotel for storage, and taxied to the Gateway Arch, running to catch our tour, which turned out not to be a tour at all. We were shoved into lovely, cramped five-seaters that were built to inspire claustrophobic and acrophobic feelings into their occupants. However, once we were at the top of the arch, the view were marvelous, but greatly diminished because of the small window size. :'( But, the light reflecting off the arch at night is possibly even more magnificent. I'll let you decide that for yourself.

For an amazing finish to our day, we ate at Broadway Oyster Bar, well-worth, well, everything, ever. We had alligator calamari, delightfully fresh oysters baked with a sizeable amount of cheese, and a fantastic lobster po'boy.
We got back to our residency, the Charles F. Knight Conference Center at UWash at almost midnight and snooped through the ice rooms and complimentary pantry that had cereal and coffee, among other things (Oreos, Fig Newtons, hot chocolate, etc.)

Here's to sleeping, here's to another day! Here's to being jealous of the Vanderbilt cohort because they had time to swim in an indoor pool (but they probably don't have complimentary Oreos, hmm, which is better...Oreos, of course).



  1. I’m glad that you understood the value in talking to seat mates instead of snoozing the time away.

    And by the way, didn’t I have a HUGE box of Oreos to offer you before you left? Don’t I get some props?

    1. Of course, I finished the entire stack of Oreos on the plane. :3 Kudos to Don Gosney, the snack master~~~

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.