Friday, May 23, 2008

how to recap the fourth day of my trip (orange county/LAX/tokyo/guangzhou edition)

at 8am, i left the ritz-carlton in dana point, onward towards LAX. twenty four hours later, i returned to the ritz-carlton, but now in guangzhou, a half world away.

a lot of nothing happened in between.

you know a trip is gonna be great when you pick up your computer bag and the strap breaks - because that's exactly what happened to me. and then, while in the airport, the plastic bag you boought that holds your magazines also breaks. that also happened to me. so you wound up shlepping around the world holding your two bags in your arms like a pet pig. good times. i highly recommend it.

the united flight from LAX to tokyo really wasn't so bad, as far as eleven-hour trips go. i got some work done on my laptop, listened to rilo kiley and also te raconteurs "counselors of the lonely", took a quick nap and watched three movies, of which i'll review now in the shortest paragraphs possible.

"27 dresses"
starring katherine heigl and various douchebags
written and directed by four-year-olds

even as far as romantic-comedies go, this one was especially shameless and see-through. honestly, i can't imagine anyone being able to sit through this and not try to take their own life. if the emergency exits weren't jammed shut, i might have made a jump for it. and this is coming from someone who actually gave this a shot because he had nothing else to do.

starring hayden christenson, samuel l. jackson and other douchebags
directed by (i can't believe this) doug liman

a movie that managed to allow me to intensely hate every character in the film while also not caring one iota about them. that to me is an amazing achievement in ineptitude. what could have been a pretty fun movie was ultimately done in by a first draft of a crappy script. and hayden christenson is one of the worst actors to have ever lived. if the emergency exits weren't jammed shut, i might have made a jump for it. and this is coming from someone who actually gave this a shot because he had nothing else to do.

"charlie wilson's war"
starring tom hanks, julia roberts and philip seymour hoffman
written by aaron sorkin
directed by mike nichols

united airlines can thank these legends for saving me from taking over the plane and flying it into the pacific ocean. i really wanted to watch this when it was out, and for the benefit of everyone on board, thankfully i didn't get the chance. it's smart, fun, funny, sexy and semi-true. it wasn't the best film these legends have individually made, but it was among the best of last year. (honestly, it could have had a little more beef, but i can't complain, considering the other crap i watched).

then i flew air nippon from tokyo to guangzhou, a five hour flight on top of the eleven hours i was just in the air. thankfully, there was hardly anyone else on the plane, so i was able to stretch out and relax as best as i can. and, by the way, the air nippon stewardess are the hardest-working stewardesses in the air. there was nothing i was left wanting. great job by those minxes.

finally, we landed in guangzhou, and passed through customs without a problem. we met our contact from the production company (andi), and while waiting for our client to fly in, we had some ice cream at a diner. i have to be honest with you: the conversation that took place to order two scoops of ice cream each was absolutely worth the sixteen hour flights. the discussion took a good 30 minutes, with the waitress hustling back and forth to show us different sizes and flavors and being utterly confused - even with a cantonese translator. wonderful stuff. i wish i wrote that scene.

and finally, 24 hours later, we landed at the brand new ritz-carlton in guangzhou. and there's no debate: this is the most beautiful and luxurious hotel i've ever stayed at in my career and my life - and i'm including the indianapolis marriott in that discussion. everything is stunning. check out the website, but i'll take photos when i get a chance.

and finally, here we are, in a sweltering city of 12 million people. i have a chance to explore today. tonight (or this morning for you), you'll read about it.

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