Monday, August 08, 2005

Shanghai to Beijing

So, let's cover getting to Beijing...

It was not pretty... I had an 8:00 flight- you remember Airport math... so I was up and checking out of the hotel at 5:00. The traffic on the way to the airport was the lightest I had ever seen in Shanghai... It only took us 24 minutes to get from the Mayfair to the airport in Pudong. We were flying. The taxi driver would put any NYC cabbie to shame.
I got there much too early.
So... flight is at 8:00- checked in opened at 7:00, checked 2 bags- I asked for a bulkhead seat, got a fairly small row number- fifth row. Cool. Bulkhead seat. Things are looking up.
We finally boarded at 7:30- If you go back tothe tales from Crete, and the description of boarding a domestic aircraft on a non-US airport, the difference was night and day.
People were calm, unhurried, polite and generally well-behaved. Heh.
On Shanghai Airlines, and the plane we were on, row 4 is the bulkhead, not 5. Just so you know if you ever are in need of such info... So I'm one row back of the bulkhead. row. Ok.. it's only 90 mins. I can do this.

We loaded up, settled in, and got ready. And waited. And waited.
8:00 came and went. 8:30 passed us by.
They finally asked us to get off the plane, that there were mechanical difficulties- please wait in the boarding lounge. Everyone got a can of Coke or a bottle of water and a packet of cookies, and we sat to wait. At 9:45 we were herded onto a shuttle bus and driven to a new airplane parked out on the apron...
Back on board, get settled in...
Did you know that when the plane is parked at the jetway, they have shore power to run the on-board environmentals, like AC, etc. If you are out on the jetway, there is no power, hence, no AC. Did I tell you I'm a real fan of air conditioning?
So... We're in the plane and we're cooking. And waiting. And waiting. At 10:30 we are herded off the plane amd back into the shuttle bus.
I am ready to force a change of plans- encite a riot to overtake the shuttle bus driver and we'll drive the shuttle bus to Beijing.
I think there would have been violence and probably bloodshed if we had gone back to the terminal. Instead (thank God) we were driven directaly to another plane and loaded on board. Had they not closed the door immediately and started moving, things would have gotten ugly.
The best part- there was a different seat configuration... Row 5 was in business class. Hoo Ha!

We were on the ground in Beijing at 12:30...

The next step of the adventure had begun... I was on my own here...
No private driver, no Tournament Director to help me get from airport to hotel, etc.
I headed for the taxi line and a very uncertain future....

More later.

TBG out-

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Well... It's not SARS...

So, I'll get back to you on the trip to the Great Wall, Tian'amen Square and the Forbidden City in a message or two, but I wanted to let y'all know why there have been no updates for a week...

24 hours after returning to the 'States, the hammer of illness descended on me, hitting me square in the head...
I have a fever, a horrible sinus drip, nausea, and the most amazing, a loss of appetite. Add a raging chest cough and raw throat... I'm thinking SARS or Asian Bird Flu.
13 hours in a planeful of Asians will do that for you. They (the Chinese government) make such a big deal about SARS and other illnesses when you enter the country, it got my wheels turning when I got sick.

Anyway- I went to the Doctor- Gave them my symptoms- they poked and prodded me, did a little research;
A long story short, it's not SARS, but it is a fairly nasty sinus infection.

They gave me a 5 day course of Ketek and sent me on my way...

When I feel a little better I'll do a more comprehensive update.

Take care, y'all...

TBG (really) out-