My bags are going to cost how much?!?!
Trip Start Aug 19, 2010
14Trip End Aug 19, 2011
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My excursion started off on a positive note at least. My bags, as usual, were over the weight limit of 50lbs each. By 6 whole lbs in each one. The lady at the counter said it was going to cost $120 for the extra and I was totally pulling out my wallet to pay the fee
That’s when the Air Canada lady took pity on my soul, wrapped my handles in bright orange “HEAVY” stickers and told me she was letting it go…this time. Pheeewww. The ten pairs of shoes I packed are all going to make it to Beijing with me!!
So I get to security and the lady asks me if I have any liquids, gels, etc. “Yep. But everything is already in a ziplock bag”. So into my carry-on she goes….pulls out my ziplock bag containing my toothbrush, toothpaste and sunscreen. She gives the bag a funny look, goes to ask a question to another guy and then comes back shaking her head. “Ugghh…I knew my sunscreen was going to be a problem”. Except she pulls my ¾ empty toothpaste out of the bag, points to where it says 130ml, and hands it back to me. For real?? There’s only like 30ml in there. So I had to part with my Crest.
The flight to Toronto was uneventful. I got my own seat on the plane because a guy wanted to sit beside his friend. They were all part of a group, traveling on the same ticket. We’d debated earlier if they were some sort of sports team, but judging by their conversation on the plane, that theory is doubtful
“Hey Lester. When we get back are you going to work with the Tamils out in Victoria?”
-“Wow. Was that voluntary?”
-“Well here’s an informational brochure about the leprosy that you’re going to get. It’s been nice knowing ya.”
Any thoughts on their relationship to each other??
Landed in Toronto and found the first currency exchange booth I could see. The guy was just closing up but I put on my “please, please, PLEASE” face and he couldn’t resist. Chinese money, check. Find terminal 3, check
Through check in, now it’s time for that last Tim Horton’s that I was way too busy today to get at home. Oh wait, it’s midnight and everything in this airport is CLOSED!!! To steal a line from Roxanne here…”Sad Clowns”. I guess I’ll just have to find some free wi-fi and steal Thursday night’s Big Brother instead. We all know how much I love the piracy….
So I find the wi-fi, set up the download, pray that the hour I have will be enough to get the whole thing, and decide I should start talking to people online. I really should set myself an alarm sometimes because as I’m chatting away to Jewel, I casually look over and notice that the waiting area for gate 34 is empty. I look at the time. 1:15am. Flight leaves at 1:30am. Hmmm…Maybe I should go check this out
Luckily I have an aisle seat. No one to crawl over. Some space to stretch my legs into the aisle if I want. Perfect! Except that the two guys sitting beside me probably had the weakest bladders in history. In that 13.5 hour flight I was stepped over, stepped on, touched etc. at least 12 times. I didn’t get up once to go to the bathroom!
Picture this….Airplane seats (9 across the plane, so 3 seats, aisle, 3 seats etc…), I am in the aisle seat of the far right section (seat 50G to be precise). The people in front of us have their seats reclined to the max, and the guy next to me decides that the best escape route is to stand, turn his body towards me and squish himself through the like 6 inches of space between my head and the seat in front. Now picture what level my head would be at in relation to his body. And remember I said 6 inches of space (ok, a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much). I will provide no more detail than that. I’m sure your mental picture doesn’t come close to the reality of it.
By the 5th time or so that I finally decided that I would just get up and stand in the aisle for him, even though he insisted that I didn’t need to stand for him.
Anyhow, we board this flight at 1:30am and I take the time to peruse the in-flight entertainment that is available in the back of the seat in front of me. Holy hell…I had so much to choose from. Like 40 movies, a bunch of tv shows, documentaries….it was wild. No need for the Ipod nor the e-reader on this flight. And I’d just spent all that time illegally downloading Big Brother just for this occasion! So I settle on “City Island” (which I highly recommend everyone to watch), tilt my seat back a bit, adjust my pillow, pull out my blanket and get ready to…wtf is that smell??? Did someone just vomit onboard this aircraft?? Nope. It’s the smell of my airline provided blanket. Suuuuuper. It stayed on the floor for the remainder of the flight.
I got myself all comfortable in my seat, earphones on, eyes almost closed….and the lights come on. Apparently 3am is the perfect time to have dinner. Not just regular airplane snacks like peanuts and crackers. An actual full out hospital type meal
So dinner finishes and everyone goes to sleep. Well at least tries to go to sleep. I was woken up every 45 minutes or so by the guys in my row with the overactive bladders. I managed to finish watching 3 movies over the course of the flight though.
The whole time the plane was in the air, the flight attendants (who were literally the most beautiful girls ever, every single one of them…maybe it’s part of the hiring process) kept bringing us stuff. Juice, hot towels, wet naps, earphones, water…it seemed never ending.
Then it was breakfast time. I feel like we had some form of food or beverage the whole time. So for breakfast I had a choice. Do I want the omelet with tasti taters? Or do I want the Korean rice porridge. This is an adventure…I’ll take the porridge. So she hands me another hospital tray of food. This one has the porridge in a plastic container and a packet of “Green Tea Sauce”. I taste the porridge. Chef Ramsey’s Hells Kitchen voice comes to my mind
We definitely hit some wicked turbulence about an hour out of Seoul. People were screaming.
Shortly after that, we landed in Seoul. It was the bumpiest, hardest landing ever. It’s now 5:30am here. 27 degrees. Everything is closed and the place is deserted. I found a room for Rick though. The Smoking Room. My flight for Beijing leaves here in 4 hours. My laptop is almost dead and I haven’t found a converter yet. The bathrooms here are crazy too. The toilet seats are covered in a seran wrap type of material and when you hit the button it re-wraps the seat. I have video. Don’t worry.
Still to come today…2 hour flight to Beijing. Clear China customs. Look for the little paper sign with my name on it. Go for lunch with some school staff (after 26 hours of travel!?!?), get on a train (alone) for 2 hours of travel to my new hometown (also note that I don’t know ANY Mandarin except for hello and thank you), and then hopefully get to shower and sleep!!