April 4, 2011 Spring Break Starts…Now!
Ohh…the last time I will look at my little dorm room for awhile. 5:00AM is Spring Break Travel Time. Thanks for the ride to the airport Jason.
I forgot how many security checks, customs inspections, pokes, prods, and herding happen when you travel. I had been in China for three months now so it was time for me to venture out again. Spring break afforded me the perfect opportunity to explore. I swear I have already been carefully patted down 4 times at different security check points. Once I got to LAX the patting became more intense because I refused to go into those microwave scanners at the airport. My body has had enough radiation for today. Thank you very much. The plane rides were pleasant though. The staff were very helpful at China Eastern Airlines, and then at American Airlines. When I had to transfer to make my connecting flights Mr. Dong hooked me up. It was so confusing to claim my luggage at each airport to switch from China domestic travel, re-check my luggage, and then switch to international travel. Cen who is from Switzerland made me feel right at home. He even escorted me to the proper gate after I had clearly become a sleep deprived zombie since landing in Shanghai. The next 12 hours were a blur. I made nice friends on the plane though. You get very tolerant and friendly when you have to fly next to strangers for that long. I am a travel pro now.
Leaving Chengdu for Shanghai.
Shanghai to the US.
Landing in Shanghai was fun, but getting on a jumbo jet for a twelve hour international flight was even more fun. I had fun exercising up and down the aisles when my 8th hour of sitting rolled around. I thought the flight attendants were just going to let us watch the video, but they led us in a 30 minutes exercise routine. Fun.
I forgot that I made special diet requests when I booked my ticket. Apparently I requested gluten free meals on one flight and then vegetarian on the longer flight. The flight attendants were ready with my special meals. I got to eat before everyone else because they prepared mine first to make sure they didn’t accidentally feed me to my death. I felt special and a few people looked over my shoulder to see why I was eating before them. When I explained that I just had dietary restriction they understood. My first few meals included rice porridge, fruit, and vegetables, then lot of veggies with no-sauce chicken and potatoes (twice), and my last meal on my 12 hour long flight was an apple and an orange while everyone else ate a pork baozi (like a roll with meat in the center). I felt great. I had been drinking a lot of water too because I heard that it helps with jet lag. We will see. When I landed at LAX, yes in Los Angeles, I was so hungry. I grabbed the first thing I couldn’t grab so easily in China, a hamburger. It was as oily and non-satisfying as I remembered, but it got rid of my hunger. I was set, full, and in the US. Surprise!
LAX rocks, except for the hostess at Chili’s that snubbed me because I didn’t know you couldn’t seat yourself in the front of the restaurant along a bar of single person tables where guest after guest said that they didn’t want to sit even though she didn’t have tables available. She didn’t put my name on any list or glance my way even though I wore a tired smile. I asked her for something hot to drink and she didn’t return for about 30 minutes. Rude! I was over it and just happy to be stateside so I forgave her.
It got better when I got to my gate. It is never a good sign when the pilot is waiting for the plane with you. When I learned that the flight was delayed for an hour. I passed the time by grabbing a soda and Tender Crisp chicken sandwich from Burger King. After sitting on the ground near the gate to enjoy my early dinner I asked the ticket lady if I could make a phone call to my ride in Vegas. She refused and told me that I could only call local numbers. Maybe this is the norm, but I was easily ticked off at this point. I only had two US dollars on me and the plane had finally pulled up so I didn’t have time to leave the gate to get change. I left my luggage near the gate where I thought it would be safest and she yelled that I couldn’t leave it there and that I needed to return my boarding pass if I was going to leave to use a pay phone. Green Eggs and Ham! The pay phone was less than 10 feet away. I’m sure I was in the wrong. I just did whatever I could to silence her irritating voice and then tried to use my credit card to make a phone call. Didn’t work. I returned to my luggage at the gate and boarded the plane while looking at her with a stink face as she quickly stepped out of my way. I know. Not very Christian of me. Sorry, but anyone that made quick movements or eye contact with me at this point were free game. I was not myself. I had been traveling for 20 hours and I was done with checking of the bags! (Meet The Parents movie reference)
Once I was on the plane it was smooth sailing though. I landed and immediately went to the McCarran Airport American Airlines Baggage claim room to use their phone to call my family. The attendant was so friendly and helpful. I found out that my family was already there and 2 minutes after telling them where I was standing they were behind me with open arms. It was great. Now feed me!
Thanks Chanell, Mom, Paula, Nate, and the comfy couch I slept on tonight. ZZzzz.