Well, I finally made it to Xiamen, but it was not how I originally planned! It just goes to show that you always have to roll with the punches and be flexible when you travel! 🙂 After saying goodbye to my family I left for China from Portland. However, my flight in to San Francisco was delayed coming in due to fog as well as air traffic control due to President Obama flying in for a meeting. When my plane landed my flight had already left for Hong Kong. I ran to the gate like a scene out of the movie Home Alone, literally 🙂 It was too late though.
I headed to the United ticket counter and they rebooked me on the next flight out through Beijing and I headed to that gate. However, China Air said it was too late for me to board that flight too, since it was international and I need to be an hour before hand, and I was 15 minutes late. They said United should have called down to tell them I was coming but they could not let me board. I tried to kindly argue with 3 Chinese women at the China Air desk that the flight did not leave for 45 minutes, can they please make an exception, and they said no. Oh my word! I could not believe it, I did not know whether to laugh or cry!!! So, I headed back to the United counter and they said all other flights are full, you will need to spend the night. So they gave me a hotel voucher and I found a hotel nearby and took a shuttle over to check in and rest for the night. Thankfully since my bags were lost on my last trip over, I thought ahead and already had enough in my carry on for clothes and toiletries. 🙂
The next morning I left for Beijing, however, due to traffic issues again, we left almost an hour late. The 13 hour trip over went by fairly quickly. I sat next to a kind older business man who said he travels to China 6 times a year for business, every other month. I passed the time by reading magazines, sleeping, listening to music, and watching movies. I also picked up the book Tiger Mom before I left about a Chinese mom reflecting on Chinese parenting and Western parenting. It has been a thought provoking book so far! When I landed in Beijing they said we would need at least 2 hours to go through customs, pick up baggage, recheck the baggage, go through security, and then to the gate for departure. I only had 2 hours originally, so now we were down to one. So, as you can imagine, even though I ran as fast as I could, it even took kindly cutting in line with permission from someone at customs since there were about 50 people in front of me, I ran yet again to the gate, and it was too late. I think the lesson I learned from this, even though I had a travel agent book the tickets, is to leave ample time for delays in booking the tickets even if it means a long lay over. This is my 4th time to China but I have never had this experience!
So, once again we rebooked the tickets to Xiamen for a later flight and I left around 9pm Sunday night for Xiamen, and I arrived at the hotel around 1pm in Xiamen. I as so happy to finally be here! Rocky sent me a text to meet for breakfast at 7:30, I was too excited to sleep so I unpacked and also laid out all the gifts we brought to get organized. Here is a photo of what we are giving this week to Fujian! I am excited to see the kids tomorrow!!! Thank you for your prayers and support!
China Program Director