Sunday, 1 September 2013

... limbo...

There is some sort of stupid rule that you have to be at the airport 3 hours before your flight for international connections. Q helped me with this. At least there was free wi-fi-- that last really free wi-fi I would see for a long time.

Bags checked, boarding pass procured. Sorted. Now what do I do? I have no money, so, no booze (but this is Canada, so no booze anywhere anyway. Stupid Protestant society.. Did I mention that I left Canada with about $1 in my pocket? I downloaded the other drug of the masses-- tv shows, and watched them instead. 200 people looking at their phones/tablets laughing to themselves.

I sat next to a little old chinese woman with an afro. I helped her with the entertainment system on the back of the seat. She watched Korean dramas. When it came to food, we ate the same options. I ate the leftovers.

When I got off the plane, it was 5 am. The airport in Shanghai was closed. There were now 50 people confused about how to transfer to different destinations, 7 hours later. One of us discovered we could go through customs & immigration or we could wait until a transfer ticket window opened. We went through customs and immigration.

I still had no money, but a miracle happened and I found some funds. I bought a couple of beers from the vending machine. I paid for wi-fi. I couldn't blog, tweet or book my face. Youtube was kaput. I could Fark and I could stream Veetle. i was blocked by the Great Firewall of China. I couldn't do anything but check my bank account at the bank of Hang Kong... I had the foresight to at least chose the best international bank. Citi is another one. I tried to sleep, but airport benches are about as comfortable as a concrete jail floor. At least I had a pillow and a blanket in jail.

The gate in China turned out to be a door leading to a bus that took us to some stairs leading up to the plane. I've never gotten on a plane by a stairway before... not a 767 jet plane. And then we waited another hour. My seatmate got another seat next to his friend, so I had 2 seats to myself. A concrete jail floor is still more comfortable than 2 seats on a plane to spread out on. And I even had 2 pillows and a blanket this time. No entertainment system either (I almost expected to see propellers .This plane was in desperate need of a retro fit), but I have the entire 2nd season of Homeland on my computer and a couple of fresh new episodes of Pawn Stars. I love that show.

When I got off the plane, the Thailand immigration officer was too concerned with talking to his colleague to notice I had no address in Thailand, no money and no means of exit. I got my baggage and negotiated my way to V.