Friday, March 30, 2001

China 2001 - Leaving

We got to the airport early and it paid off. We were in and out of the x-ray and check in lines in no time and left behind a half hour line that arrived while getting our tickets. I don't know why but for some reason they gave us an upgrade to business class. I had heard somewhere that if you ordered the kosher meal it was always better tasting. So when they upgraded our tickets they seemed to be going through a huge hassle to make sure I got that kosher meal. I told them it was not important but I think that they did not want it to go to waste more then respecting my wishes. I do think that if we had been in the seats that we paid for I would have come out ahead.
The flight turned out to be more interesting then I thought. Even though it was a direct flight the plane did not make a direct line to Beijing. Instead it followed the coastline up California to Canada over Alaska and down the coast of Russia. Whether this was because of the jet stream, for safety of always having land in sight or if the pilot didn't want to get lost, I don't know. It really helped having my own screen though because it could display a map as we traveled. Otherwise I would have gotten really confused when we flew over the frozen ocean of the Bering straight. While passing over the International Date Line I realized that I had just lost 24 hours all at one time. It is made up for by the fact that I received 28 hours of sunlight in one day. I Had childhood flash-backs flying over Russia because my mother had always said Siberia is where people got sent when they didn't do what they where told implying that was she would send us for not doing our chores. Her description was pretty accurate though as it was a whole lot of nothing and snow. While flying they handed us some slips of paper asking of if we had AIDS or mental dementia or such. We landed, followed the crowd though a deserted airport, handed over the quarantine cards we had filled out, had our passports stamped, and walked right past customs to L.’s uncle waiting with a sign saying " welcome all ye foreigners from other lands." all without saying one word. The entire process from the tires hitting the ground took around 20 minutes, with it taking the most time to get off the plane since we were on the upper deck.

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