I'm back in New York.
The flight went well. Continental appears to be the only major carrier that has not moved to Beijing's beautiful new terminal three restaurant/shopping/airplane extravaganza, so I flew out of terminal two. The airport security people were friendly and efficient; after a security guard had patted me down to ascertain that the only item I was carrying with metal was my heavy black leather boots she thanked me, said I was done and could step off of the stand and leave, I pointed at the carpet and said 'dirty,' she smiled, said 'sorry, one moment, please' and brought me my boots from the x-ray machine so that I could put them on before stepping off of the stand. That would never happen in the states
Continental is now giving metal cutlery with in-flight meal service. It's nice not to eat with flimsy plasticware. They also have a new inflight entertainment system, with several hundred movies, television programs and games from around the world, all starting or pausing at the touch of the screen on the seatback in front of you.
Customs and immigration were painless. It was under half an hour between when I walked off the plane and when I walked out of Newark airport. As I'm writing this I'm sitting on the shuttle bus back to Manhattan, where I'm going to drop my luggage with friends uptown before heading downtown to spend the night at the home of another friend. I'm feeling globally homeless right now, but in a good way.
Tonight: friends, kitty cats, and perhaps some pinball. Tomorrow: more friends, bagels, perhaps a concert. It's been a long time since I haven't had a home here. Now it's no longer completely home but it's definitely good to be back.