Arrived at Last!

6 Sep

 

 

 

 

Sorry! I started writing this back on the 25th, but I only just finished it.  😦  Many Apologies!
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Well this trip was quite the fun experience. . .  ~ Murphy’s Law was working in overtime throwing things in our path!  If one more thing had gotten screwed up, I’d have just screamed.  I probably should have known that was how it was going to go when my first photo of the trip was of the Jack Swigert (coined “Houston, we’ve had a problem) 😛

As I mentioned before, my mother and I were part of a group of four people who weren’t going to fit on the original flights arranged for everyone else ~ they ran out of seats for us. So instead, they decided we should leave the morning after the rest of our team.  Which would have been fine had Sias not wanted us to pay for the hotel up front. They agreed to re-imburse us later, but with hotels around the Denver Airport as expensive as they were, this was a lot of money that we didn’t really want to spend out-of-pocket.  Who knew how long we were going to have to wait to be re-imbursed? . . . it just didn’t seem worth the risk.

So we ended up staying overnight there at the airport itself, from about 5 pm until 8 am.  Which, while we didn’t sleep too well on the floor, we did get our last really good meal for the next several days.  Thank God for Burger King and Taco Bell 🙂

Once we got through security (mom was shuttled to the expedited version, which was so wonderful), we made it to our gate without too much trouble.  United Airlines ran out of space on the flight and were begging people to check their carry-on suitcases instead.  Of course the four of us agreed to help, and sent out carry-ons up ahead in exchange for United agreeing to check them clear to Zhengzhou.  

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What none of us realized is that three of us had put our passports and boarding passes in the checked carry-on’s, which caused a bit of a stir once we reached DC.  The others two raced ahead of us, and ended up dealing with Air China. Mom and I realized it immediately and then spent the next three hours being given the run around by United Airlines who kept making a lot of promises about having the bags on hand, but then gave us all sorts of excuses about why they “just missed them.” After being told for 3 hours that “they had them, don’t worry, they are on their way”, we were sent to Air China who “probably knows where they are.”  Thankfully, Air China took care of the problem swiftly and we made it onto the flight without further ado.  

The flight itself was ridiculously tossy-turny, although when you think about it, we were flying against the arctic winds which makes for a cold and messy journey.   At least my time was livened up by the series of unfortunate events me and one of the flight attendants went through in the course of the trip.  He tried to help me out by giving me an extender version of the seat belt (he didn’t realize how much padding I was adding on by wearing clothes in an effort to avoid loading down me luggage :p ), when that proved un-necessary, he was duly embarrassed (not his fault at all, and I found it mostly amusing but poor him, he took it worse).  Then (despite his efforts to avoid contact with me afterwards) he tripped in the course of turbulence and spilled water on me. THEN, he accidentally walked in on me in the bathroom when the lock didn’t work properly.  Poor boy turned red every time he saw me by the end of the flight.  Definitely studiously avoiding me. 😛  He didn’t realize I was on a doomed trip from the very beginning.

The bad luck carrying on to our arrival in Beijing, wherein the luggage was delayed so long we missed our next flight.  Air China at least was kind enough to put us up in a hotel, all expenses paid, that offered us a chance to rest for an extra day.  It ended up working because everyone here at the school was in meetings that day while we got to catch up on our beauty sleep.  Thank God, I think I might have killed someone if I had had to instantly start into meetings upon arrival here.

Anyway, the next day we were shuttled back to the Beijing airport, where we headed through security (the security officer stole my Coke! ~ it cost me 10 yuan here folks, that’s 2 dollars for a can and he drank it instead of me!).  

We finally arrived in Zhengzhou around 12:00pm only to learn that there wasn’t anyone there to pick us up from the airport.  Apparently, the girl supposed to do that job fell asleep and didn’t come.  By a stroke of luck, however, there was a Chinese student sent to the airport by a whole different department to pick up two special guests.  He was frustrated to find that three foreign teachers from our building hitched a ride with him so they could pick up their friend coming in from Shanghai.  God works, our arrival was just in time to meet the Chinese student arriving for the guests and he had with him some people from our Building that could let us into our rooms after they picked up their friend.  Had they not come at that precise time, I’m not sure what we would have done.  

Our actual arrival time of entering the dormitory was about 2:00 am, luckily we didn’t have the 6am meeting that the two guests were trying to meet.  Gave us time to sleep until our 8:00am meeting.  

Lafayette, we have officially arrived!

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