The flight to Chicago was very quick for me. I hardly had a chance to settle in before we were ready to land. We had a three hour layover in Chicago so the group took the liberty to explore a little. There is an underground people mover in O'Hare that has a ceiling covered in contorted multi-colored neon lights. In regular pulses light passes down the tunnel almost as if it were the heart of the massive airport moving people from one extremity to another. As we moved from place to place the group never split up, always staying together in its entirety as we visited several different vendors. On our last stop I purchased my favorite drink from Starbucks that costs a mere $3.15 in most cases. However, in O'Hare the exact same drink was $4.45. From what I know of Vietnamese goods that may be the last overpriced item I purchase for awhile.
My thoughts concerning the prices of items in Vietnam were confirmed on the flight to Hong Kong. As we were walking around on the plane my friends and I ran into a man who was also going to Ho Chi Minh City. He was born in Vietnam but currently lives and works in Ohio and was on his way to visit family back home. During our conversation he gave us many tips and insights into his culture. He mentioned that we should be able to get a delicious pork BBQ sandwich for a nickel. He elaborated on the differences in lifestyle between city dwellers and rural families. He also advised that we take our own water bottle into the country with us, as some Vietnamese use zip-loc bags to hold their water. While they are drinking they use a straw then simply throw the contraption on the ground when they're finished.
In between movies and TV shows the plane's display screens feature a map with our plane on it as an indicator of our position. Additional data is displayed such as external temperature, air speed, distance traveled, and flight time remaining. As we were traveling 530mph I noticed the external temperature was -76F. This would correlate appropriately with our position on the world map; we were only a few hundred miles away from the tip top of Canada. Of course looking out the window at this time sounds like a superb idea, but as anyone who has been skiing can attest to, snow sure does reflect light. The affect was nearly blinding causing a semi-permanent mark to appear in my vision. This mark was much the same as when one stares into the sun for too long then looks away. However, too long must have been a fraction of a second because that's all it took before my reactions took over and I jerked my head away from the window. When my eyes finally adjusted to the bright light , all I could see was snow. There were no clouds. No trees. No animals or people or farms. Only snow. A few lone gray streaks were visible that were undoubtably rock of some type. I snapped several pictures with my iPhone and walked the 150ft or so back to my seat (we had just finished our conversation with our new friend at this point). As a point of reference, we have been flying for about five hours; only eleven more!