Thursday, May 1, 2014

Days 1 and 2: Getting There

We didn't think that I was going to be able to blog because we set up a VPN on Larry's laptop, but I needed to sign into it with my google account, which has 2-step verification(which requires the use of my cell phone, that of course, doesn't work here).

But I think I got in to stay by using my Kindle on some free wi-fi I jumped onto!

Abigail grabs a quick nap in JFK
I ain't gonna' sugar-coat it:  Our trip here was L.O.N.G.  Even longer than it was supposed to be.
We left our house at ~6:30 on Wednesday and got to our hotel in Beijing 31 hours later.
For all of you MVHS friends, here is one perspective:  We started our journey about the time Karl Reichart was arriving to work on Wednesday morning and didn't stop until after you were all done with 4th block on Thursday. 

Our trip from DC to NYC was pretty standard, if a little turbulent.

A nice agent in NYC got all 3 of us seats together for our Beijing flight, which was great.
Then at JFK airport, Abigail took a 1 hour nap and then we boarded our plane that we were supposed be on for 13 hours.

 But that 13 hours grew a bit when we sat on the tarmac at JFK for 1 hour, 45 minutes.
Then, after about half-a-day of staring at the flight map in our seat back screens, the "time remaining until landing" went from 50 minutes to 45 to 30 to 22 .... to 28 to 32 to 38 to 45 to "This is your pilot. We are not going to Beijing.  There is windy weather.  We are going to Hohhot." 

Hohhot is in Inner Mongolia.

 (I admit, I had a panic attack at this point.  Abigail later described it to our CCAI guide as "Mama was frustrated and disappointed.")

So damn close...

In Hohhot, the 350 or so of us sat on our plane for a few more hours.  Then, just before midnight, we were given permission from ATC in Beijing to land there.  

So, back to Beijing, stand in a customs line for awhile, hit the "30 hours awake mark", wait 30 minutes to collect our bags (YEA!! They made it!!), van ride to our gorgeous hotel, and a little bit of sleep and we are ready for a day of touring Beijing!

Fun quote of the day:
Abigail and I rode the glass elevator together to our hotel room and as it burst from the lobby floor to a 8-10 story indoor atrium filled with trees and so much beauty, Abigail observed "Wow!  This hotel is SOO beautiful.  It even has carpet!!"  (Yes, we usually stay in dirt covered places...)