(typed while flying to Shanghai and Beijing, and in the JW Marriott)
March 12th & 13th
I had grand plans to workout this morning, but that didn’t happen. I am going to blame it on the time change and my desire to enjoy another half hour of a very comfortable bed. Blanca and I made ourselves eat something small for breakfast and took advantage of our access to free food at the Westin. I had some fruit and it sure helped to calm my nerves.
Despite a departure time of 12:30PM, we arrived at the airport at 8:00 AM to check in for our flight. We are flying China Eastern throughout our travels and the airline doesn’t allow you to preselect your seats until you check-in at the airport. There are 51 of us traveling with the Greater Houston Partnership and most of our group arrived early to get our desired seats. With rows of 2, 4, and 2 seats, we wanted to be in a 2 seat location. Thanks to our early arrival, we got our wish!
A few of us picked up food before the flight because you never know what kind of food an airline might serve. I grabbed a few bananas, water and 2 turkey sandwiches, with the intent of ditching the bread. I also packed a few Kind Bars, individual Justin PB packets and some almonds. Better safe than sorry, right? We sat at our gate for an hour, noting the absence of our plane. As it turned out, we were shuttled offsite to our plane due to airport construction. In the end, our plane was well-appointed, with gracious and helpful airline staff. We were airborne in no time. Before we knew it, it was time for lunch service. Our choices were pork and rice or fish and noodles. We should have ordered the fish and noodles (all of the Chinese people seated around us ordered this) because it looked good and the noodles were gluten- free. FAIL. Hey, at least we tried! I tried to eat one of my sandwiches, but I wasn’t feeling it. Instead, I had a banana and some PB. I also had some orange juice with some blueberry vodka mixed in. One of my tour companions purchased some vodka in the duty free store before we let so it was a party for all those of us who wanted to imbibe. Clearly, I like these people already. Fast friends, indeed. PS — the back of the seat plug ruled. I was able to use and charge my iPad simultaneously.
I spent the next few hours watching ” Forks Over Knives” and “Mean Girls.” Yeah, I’m pretty complicated like that. 😉 Seriously, both movies really speak to me – just in completely different ways. I also spent a few hours perusing the “China Survival Guide: How to avoid travel troubles and mortifying mishaps“and walking around the plane
bothering chatting up others in our group. After a while, it was time for dinner. This go round, I chose the seafood and noodles and again, chose poorly. I never intended to eat the shrimp – I was more interested in the rice noodles. Too bad they were coated in shrimp juice. Blerg. I ended up eating the grapes in my fruit cup and a Kind bar.
Next up was a few episodes of “Revenge” and a few episodes of the first season of “Law and Order:Criminal Intent.” I won’t say our 14 hour flight wasn’t long, but it wasn’t as horrible an ordeal as I expected. The airline served an egg sandwich before we landed and I passed on the offering. We arrived 45 minutes later than expected and there was a great deal of confusion about whether someone from our tour group was meeting us. For the record, we were on our own and there was a quick dash to make it to our flight to Beijing. Jill and I hightailed it through the airport and were slightly put off by the overly touchy security staff. I’d make a joke about their wands, but it wouldn’t be as funny as intended.
On the flight to Beijing, a dinner service was offered, but I didn’t partake. I simply wasn’t feeling pork and noodles or seafood and rice again. Almost everyone in our group slept on the flight. As in snoring- with-your-mouth-open sleep. Our one hour and fifty minute flight to Beijing actually took almost three hours. And, upon arrival, we learned that one of our group members didn’t make the flight. Oops. Don’t worry, he caught up with us later. I had a panic attack on the bus on the way to our hotel. Seriously. I suspect it was due to a mix of nerves, anxiety, sleep deprivation and day of improper nutrition. Either way, Blanca saved the day and was ultra supportive of me. Thank you, sweet lady. Special thanks also goes to Xanax.
We checked into the JW Marriott – it’s a wonderful hotel. Ultra luxurious and very comfortable. Blanca and I got settled into our room, took showers and I was able to FaceTime with John. Blanca and I were really impacted by the stresses of the day, and in the end, all of the anxiety of the day prevented me from sleeping well. All in all, however, the day was pretty painless, especially given the circumstances.
- Blanca and I seriously considered returning to Houston instead of staying on the trip. Good thing we didn’t.
- The international plan I signed up with for Verizon isn’t working. FAIL. Good thing I have an iPad and have access to FaceTime and email.
- I am grateful that Jill and Blanca are on this trip!