Wednesday, August 29, 2012

You MUST be two hours early….

This morning we made our return flight to Kunming, but not without some nerve wracking moments…..

When we changed our flights, we were told that it would cost us 300Y and that this amount had to be paid two hours before the flight or they would cancel our tickets.  This meant that we had to pay by 5:30am.

With that in mind, we set the alarms for 4:00am, dressed quickly, packed and checked out of the hotel.  Then the problems began…..

As our taxi left the hotel we noticed something unusual…..he drove VERY slowly!!  Most drivers sent us swaying back and forth in the back seat as they careened from lane to lane, but this gentleman carefully and slowly drove down the street.  

The next problem arose when we arrived at the entrance ramp to the highway that goes to the airport and the entrance was blocked!!!   We proceeded slowly along the street, hitting every single stop light until we came to the next entrance….it was blocked also!!! 

While looking to see what speed he was traveling, I realized that the “Check Engine” light was on….not a good sign either.  As we traveled further, we noticed that there was an acrid smell in the taxi and that the motor was pulsing and not keeping a smooth tempo…..oh great!!!

We finally found an entrance to the elevated road and as the driver slowly ground thru the four gears, our collective stress levels grew as well!!!

We limped along with cars passing us right and left and with much relief saw a sign indicating that the airport was only 6 kms ahead…..maybe we could make it!!

We gratefully exited the taxi and entered into the airport, also known as the next circle of hell!!

There were no attendants at any gate and the only person that we could find to ask only pointed to one of the unopened desks and told us to wait.   We stood at the first of the line until  the gate attendants arrived at 5:35….ie, we had already passed the time to pay for our tickets.  

When Michael presented our passports to the attendant, she looked at them and said  “you changed your tickets…..why?”.  At this point, I thought that Michael was going to have an Aneurism.   Instead of saying “none of your business”, he muttered something about beating the Typhoon and she told us that we needed to go across to another area to pay for the ticket, and of course, there was another line.

I asked one of the men there when the counter opened and he said six!!!   Oh well, there was nothing more that we could do.  We stood in that line and finally a woman came over and opened one of the other windows.  We were told to move to that window and in the move, at least one person jumped to the front of the line.  An additional window was opened and yet more people ran to the front….the Chinese do NOT understand the meaning of forming an orderly line.

The end to our saga came with the the obtaining of boarding passes, purchasing of Starbucks coffee, tea and muffin and taking off (almost on time).  It was quite a morning!!!

The rest of the day was fortunately uneventful and we ended the day on a fun note with the spotting of a Beagle that looks just  like Jenny’s dog, Marley.  Just as Michael started to take the photo, a schoolboy came by to pet her, making for a perfect picture……

DSC06544

Notice that she is straining mightily on the leash to get to the all-important social interaction…..just like a little-girl Beagle.

4 comments:

Amber said...

Sorry the trip was so difficult! But I love the photo!

Kirsty said...

Great story! Sounds like an episode of Amazing Race. Happy travels.

Maggi said...

Glad your stress levels have got back to normal. Sounds like hair-raising journey

Linda said...

Oh, my goodness! I would have been a basket case! Through all the international flights I've made (not nearly as many as yours) the only traumatic thing that happened was when we had to stand aside while a French agent shot an abandoned suitcase with a rifle!

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