Ok... this whole experience with flights for our Asia tour has been not without a bit of drama.
It all started back in Vancouver. Apparently when your flight is Aug. 30th at 2am - this means you should be at the airport on the 29th ---- and arriving on the 30th would be too late to catch your flight. Now I understand that this seems obvious to you reading this, and truthfully with all the countries we have gone to and all the flights we have caught (over 30) I have never missed a flight before.
I used to chuckle as we sat waiting to board our plane, while the PA announcement went out... "could passenger so and so please come to gate 22, your plane is leaving!" I mean come on man... you booked your flight, you knew when it was - how come you could not plan ahead to be here in the airport when your plane is about to leave. I mean really!
I will never have that attitude again. We missed our 2am flight and had to book for the next day. That cost us another whack of bucks. But off to China we finally went.
After our time in Beijing, we were off to the airport to fly to Xian. So we did miss out flight out of Vancouver and had to buy new tickets... this was not going to happen to me twice. We left the hotel at 7:30am to catch a 11am flight. Airport - an hour and fifteen away. No worries - right?
Even though our driver was dodging through traffic with the skills of a Mexican basket weaver, left here, right there - hard stop - slide in front of that on-coming truck - hit the gas. But nothing could be done when we cornered and found every car in China clogging up the four lanes, which somehow had turned into six.
Four hours! Not stop and go traffic. No. Just stopped traffic. Stand around have a smoke and chat with friends kinda traffic jam. Use the side of the road because you are no where near a bathroom kinda thing. Oh yes, that was great fun. Let's buy some more tickets for another flight we missed. Once again folks sitting in the airport heard my name over the PA, despite all the planning in the world we were missing yet another flight!
Now in Xian - where the city is literally peppered with 18 storey buildings that have been cloned from the same template. Hundreds of them, like mushrooms springing up as far as you can see. Nothing under 20 years old. Our hotel was just put up last April. The speed of growth is unreal. We are heading over to see some terracotta warriors that have been standing around, stuck in a traffic jam of their own for over a thousand years, before continuing our journey to Guilin. Another flight - this one uneventful.
While in Guilin we were watching the weather as a Super Typhoon rolled over the Philippines crushing everything in it's path and making a it's way on to Hong Kong. That was going to be a problem for us - as we were heading to Hong Kong for an overnight stay to catch yet another flight out of China to Thailand. So we had to cancel our flight from Guilin to Hong Kong and also our flight from Hong Kong to Chiang Mai, Thailand.
So once more, folks were sitting in an airport listening for my name while they thought to themselves, "Where is this guy! He knew his flight was today!" Yeah... that was me. The flight out of Hong Kong was the only one that was officially canceled so we had to pay for the flight from Guilin to Hong Kong. I wrote the airline asking why we would possibly fly towards a super typhoon and get stranded at the airport - but they were not so understanding. Despite knowing that all flights would be canceled the next three days and that anyone stuck in the Hong Kong airport would be stuck there until the storm passed... we were still expected to catch the flight we booked going towards the storm.
We didn't. Tracey looked up a high-speed train going west from Guilin towards Kunming, China. So we hopped out the train and sped away at 280 km/h towards clearer skies. Most of this trip was underground in fact. This area of China is covered with limestone mountains that have had tunnels carved through them for the train system. A flash of light as we peek out of one tunnel and into the next - for the following five hours.
Kunming is another massive Chinese city that is ever-growing. The trip from the train station to the airport normally would have taken 25 minutes, but with construction it ends up being over an hour. Another flight missed. Overnight in the airport and that is how we end up meeting Josh.
More to come.
We are off today to the airport again to fly to Guilin.