Layovers of 10 hours or more demand a good lie-down. And I’m not one to sleep in the terminal in case someone attempts putting my hand in warm water. This time, I stayed at the Transit Resting Lounge by Aerotel at Hong Kong International Airport. Unlike my previous stay at the Darakkyu Capsul in Seoul, this hotel was inside the passenger terminal, just before Gate 35.

I booked a 6-hour stay (12:00AM to 6:00AM) on Agoda. My flight arrived at 10:30PM, so I thought perhaps they could check me in and out a bit early. No they could not. So I had to kill an hour.

Once checked in, I was impressed with the facilities. It’s about as compact as many of the business hotel rooms in Tokyo. It’s definitely for solo travelers, as the bed (or fainting couch) only has room for one. And there’s nothing to bar visibility into the shower or toilet.

The main drawback is the proximity to the tarmac, but they provide ear plugs for this. Also, there was a light outside angled just enough to deter sleep, but they also provide a sleep mask for this.

It took me forever to get to sleep, and when I did, it was time to get up and fly to Chicago.

On my most recent transfer through Incheon International Airport, I had a 12-hour layover. Had I not just gotten off the red-eye from Yangon and suffered the fitfull, miserable sleep it affords, I might have used those hours to reprise my holiday in Seoul. But I was exhausted and in need of a shower. Instead of locating a nearby hotel (Best Western Premiere Incheon is a good one), I opted for the Darakhyu Capsule Hotel by Walkerhill. I wouldn’t have to leave the airport.

From Terminal 2, I cleared immigration and took the bus to Terminal 1, then followed signs for the Airport Railraod/KTX. Upon entering the transit center, one can spot the capsules to the right and left.

Reception is located between the two wings of the hotel (in my somnambulisitc state, this actually took longer to discover than I’d like to admit). Making an online reservation didn’t work for me the day before, so I simply asked if there were any vacancies. I prefered a room with a shower. Yes, I would pay my deposit in Won.

Key in hand, I proceeded to my wing and followed the maze toward the cheese.

If you’re like me (a fan of compact, efficient spaces in Asia) you will not be disappointed.

I collapsed into the small, adequate bed for six hours of jetlag sleep (the kind that wakes you up every two hours). The capsules do not have their own toilets, so in the morning/afternoon/whatever, I made my way to the Toilet/Shower facilities. They’re well maintained and very clean. I headed back to the room for a pre-transpacific-flight shower. (No matter how much you scrub, you’ll be a walking offense when you get off the plane.)

Rested, relieved, and rinsed, I visited the nearby convenience store for breakfast and second breakfast.

When my eight hours were up, I returned my key, got my Won deposit back, and left the Republic of Korea.

One of my hobbies of late is tracking down books, music, or films from my distant past that I barely remember but can’t quite forget. For example, in third grade a guy came and spoke to our class about the joys and benefits of reading. One kid asked, “So what are YOU reading?” and he produced a hefty volume called Russka. I supposed it stuck with me because my little mind knew there was a country called Russia and the author must have spelled it wrong. Earlier this year I went looking for Russka (by Edward Rutherfurd), which to my frustration was not widely available in most bookstores. I eventually found it at a Barnes & Noble in Miami.

My latest cerebral archaeology began a few weeks ago while watching Star Trek.

I’ve been a Trekkie since 1994, and I owe my affinity for Star Trek to my friend Jake. I sat across from Jake in sixth grade English. If we finished an assignment early, we could sit there quietly. (Remember constantly being commanded to be quiet?) So we had time to read in those days. For a week or so, Jake read this Star Trek book with the Tholian Web on the cover. Even as sixth grader Jake was a tall guy, and books looked small in his hands as he clutched them. Every day I’d sit opposite Jake and read my Star Trek book and look over at the cover of his Star Trek book and have no idea that we were dorks. Then one day he came in talking about how the night before he got so in depth with the reading that he finished it. And I never saw the cover again.

A few weeks ago while watching Kirk and the Enterprise crew attempt to outwit Trelane, I scoured the web looking for Jake’s Star Trek book.

Search: “Star Trek books”

Results: A lot of Star Trek books.

Search: “Star Trek Tholian Web”

Results: Stuff about the original series episode, “The Tholian Web”

Search: “Star Trek book with Tholian Web on cover”

Results: A Next Generation comic where the Enterprise-D encounters the Tholian Web.

Search: “Star Trek books 1994”

Images of familiar covers appeared (I read my share of these in middle school) and I had to scroll down a bit, but there it was.

This is the book my buddy Jake was reading in the sixth grade: Recovery by J.M. Dillard, the final book in the Lost Years series. There was no mistaking the Tholian Web and bearded McCoy. I bought it on eBay.

The poetry in looking for a “Lost Years” something from 22 years ago and finding something called “Recovery” does not escape me.

Kirk out.