Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Flight Attempt Number Two.

Well, we got up early and packed the final bits. We went down stairs and checked out. 
This sign was in the bus, seemed rather prescient to me. 
We waited for the shuttle to the airport. Cora showing some minor angst. But we got on the bus with little trouble. It helped that we were the only ones on the bus. We stopped at the Hilton and picked up more passengers. Then went straight to the airport. Got unloaded and went in. But not until after I gave the driver a ten spot for getting us s trolley...no matter that I hefted the damned things from the bus and opened the cargo hold, but he got a wheeled cart so he got paid. 

We got in. I was watching for the lady that cheated us out of 100 yuan, but she didn't show. I think she knew I was gunning for her. 

We found the check in desk and waited our turn. Cora got a little worried when the checking lady grabbed one of our papers and ran away. She left at a pretty good clipped just making a corner without falling. Cora's apprehension grew while she was gone. Finally the lady came back. Turns out Chloe's name was too long. ( note to self: shorten next kid's name). All was well and we left. 

We turned the corner to enter the secure area and found half of China in line ahead of us. Now lines in the west appear to be entirely different from lines in Asia-well, China anyhow. In the west a line means an orderly progression from one place to another. In my experience thus far, orderly in China is another word for chaos. 

Whereas westerners gather in quasi-orderly lines without problem, lines in China are a mass of people attempting to get from one place to another first at the expense of those around you. This appears to be a mass mind, because in smaller groups Chinese are downright considerate and we've depended greatly upon those around us for aid this week. 

We got through that group and got to the line for security and our hearts dropped. The OTHER half of China was at security. We freaked momentarily at the bottom of the stairs when a security guard came and took us to a foreigners only security area. Phew! Score!

We were very careful to pack our bags just right. Sunday security took a lot of interest in my batteries and my camera. So I was careful to put them in a place easy to access. Cora and Chloe got through just fine.  Me?  Not so much. They held up my bag. I was the docile creature they were looking for and helped them find the offending item. After three goes they narrowed it down. A recharger. I bought it for five bucks at Target. They told me it was not in specification. I just told them to keep it. They were nice about it but I was in a hurry. We HAD been near on time but the scrum at the door and security had taken away any lead we might've had. 

We made it to the gate. Cora was showing more signs of distress. But we'd made it in time. It was before 8!

And we waited. And waited. Then they called out our flight number!

And...there was a scrum at the door and I struggled to hold Chloe out of it and maneuver part of our luggage. Cora's job was to show the boarding passes and do the thinking. She does that exceedingly well. She also had some luggage. We managed to board the bus that took us out to the airplane. 

Again, when the doors opened instead of a generous and, to my mind, more efficient taking turns to go up the stairs our fellow passengers squeezed through to the boarding gate. Oh sweet mother of chaos. 

Our flight was delayed. We sat and sat on the Tarmac. Finally we took off two hours later. Having spent a good half hour holding on a taxi way. Air China is definitely not Delta. No extra glasses of wine or whiskey here.  I got some 7up. Oh, and Air China spread us out. In 49B, 50B, and 51B. Cora sits in the forward most seat, Chloe in the middle and I take up the rear. 

We fly today aboard a Boeing 777. First time for me. Now I've flown in 737s, 747s, 757s, 767s, and a 777!  Now I'm waiting to try a 787! I've also flown on Airbus 319s and a 321. On the way to Seattle we were on a dehaviland Dh-8.  I favor Boeing products. 

Our flight duration is to be 2 hours and 15 minutes. That's good, because my but is already sore. 

Something I noticed about our Chinese passengers was their seeming ability to shut down. When it became obvious we would not be taking off immediately, I looked around and better than half were asleep. 

Well, crap. This is fun. We are 11004 meters. Ground speed is 835kmh. Anyone know how to translate that to English?

We are about half way to our destination. Chloe seems to be doing well separated from us. She hands her phone and stuff back between the seats to me from time to time. A couple of times I've seen her neighbors help her. One Chinese woman and a gentleman of European origin I think. 

We just flew over Wuhan close to Nanchang. Almost to Changsha. 

This 777 is nine seats wide in the back. It's not too cramped. We might actually have more room than we did in the delta 767, but I wouldn't change planes unless I could take the delta staff. They rocked. 

As if to add to my thoughts the Air China attendant just told me to put my phone away. Didn't matter that it's on airplane mode. .....

So here's the long and short of it. We landed. We got our luggage. We found our agency rep. We went straight to the civil affairs office and we got Hailey. No get out of jail free card, do not collect 200 dollars, just here she is!! 

And now we are a family of four. One look in those eyes. BOOM. I WAS DONE FOR.  To boot, for the first little bit she preferred me!  ME!  


  1. What a beautiful baby. What a beautiful family. Congrats!

  2. Great post Jim...wish we were there again...really!!!