Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Back to China

I'm back for another round of China.  This time my stay will be about 6 weeks.  I think I won't be coming for the rest of the year though.  My husband has to keep his weeks in China to about 26, or he has to pay more China taxes.  At this point, his company doesn't want any expats, so aren't willing to pay the tax burden.  So this will be my last visit until January.

I boarded my plane in SLC, bound for SFO.  I ended up sitting next to a very large man whose upper body spilled over in to my seat.  His arms took up the armrest, and I had no where to put my arms.  It was a full flight, and I felt sorry for him that he didn't fit, so I just made do the best I could.  I found that when he fell asleep, he would cross his arms across his chest, and that gave me room on the armrest.  He slept most of the flight.  But about 20 minutes after we boarded, while we were still taxying on the runway, the pilot informed us that SFO was turning us back.  We had to go back to the gate and wait for 1 1/2 hours before we could depart.  I began to be very nervous because that would put us in SF about 11:30.  My international flight was at 12:00.

As soon as we arrived at SFO, I hurried out of the plane (after waiting for my carryon to be brought up from the belly) and asked the first airline employee I could find how to get to the international terminal.  I have been in the airport a few times, but it had been awhile, so I couldn't remember very well.  I walked as quickly as I could, and when possible I even ran a little.  My feet are so bad that running is difficult.  As I hurried away, I heard the employee calling out to me that I should take the "red line" on the air train, and go to the first stop.  I walked for about 10 minutes and finally came to the air train.  Next I came to the security check point.  I had about 20 minutes before my flight was due to leave.  I was praying that God would delay the plane.  I got in the security line and noticed a drug sniffing dog coming by.  Suddenly he keyed in on a man in front of me, and sat down next to him.  The TSA agent caught the eye of another agent and gave him a knowing look.  They took that man aside, but I don't think they found anything.  He was Chinese, so the dog could have been smelling Chinese medicine.  But just to make sure, they made us all walk a large circle so the dog could sniff us again.  Meanwhile, the clock was still ticking.....

Actually, because we had to walk in that circle, we were directed to a TSA precheck line that didn't require us to remove our shoes, or take laptops out of our luggage.  It made my security check even quicker, for which I was thankful!  The minute I got my bags, I took off again as fast as I could.

I finally got to the international terminal, and went as quick as I could to my gate.  I hurried right up to the door, but the employee there stopped me.  I said, "Have they already left?"  She said, "No, we don't board for ten minutes."  They had been delayed, but didn't post it on the board!  I was so relieved!

I got a perfect seat in the plane.  It was the last row of the middle seat, and I had the aisle seat.  Another woman had the opposite aisle seat, and the seats in between us were empty!  We both felt so lucky!  What a great flight!

My only problem with the flight was that when I arrived in Shanghai, I realized that my luggage had not arrived with me.  Although I made my flight, my suitcase didn't.  Fortunately, I had slipped some clean under clothing in to my carryon before I left home, so at least I could put on clean clothes the next day.  I wore one of my husband's casual shirts, which looked like a tent on me.  I gathered it at the side and tied a knot.  At least it wasn't a dress on me.  The airline delivered my suitcase to our hotel the next day.  So all's well that ends well.  But next time I think I will put a full change of clothes in my carryon.

I'm already enjoying the Chinese food again.  Our hotel has a wonderful buffet breakfast, and then my husband and I go out for dinner in the evening.  I usually grab something quick for lunch.  I love Chinese food!

The weather here is a little trying for me.  We have typhoon weather, so it is actually cooler than normal, but is still in the 90's with 80% humidity.  I think today will be close to 100 degrees F.  Ugh.

Last time I came, we went to Hong Kong for a few days.  I love Hong Kong and wish I could live there some day.  I was kind of wishing I didn't have to go back to China when our trip was over.  But when we arrived in Shanghai, I realized that I feel very at home in China.  I've lived here for about 4 years of my life, and it does feel very normal to me now.  The people here are wonderful, so I really have nothing to complain about.  Oh wait, except the pollution.  :)

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