Thursday, June 17, 2010
The view from my hotel room in China.
Well, I am asked to tell stories from my Asian trip constantly, so I thought I'd blog some of them. Now, I travel a lot, but this is a very long trip! And we were heading out into rural areas, so I was a little nervous. I went and got all of my shots (feeling rather sympathetic towards my dogs, er, fuzzy babies, at the vets.) My fantastic doctor asked if I was OK flying, and I admitted that although I was married to a pilot it wasn't my favorite thing. He prescribed Ambien, stating it worked wonders for his wife.
Well, I left early one day and flew to Minneapolis to meet my guide (we'll call her "J".) Of course, after getting to the local airport a couple of hours early, then flying a few more, I had several hours to *enjoy* the Minneapolis airport. I was already exhausted by the time we boarded our flight to Narita International Airport in Japan.
We didn't get to sit together, but were a few rows apart. Of course, we were in the cattle section, gazing longingly at the upstairs first class area. J suggested cocktails, but I was afraid that I'd wake up dead after taking the Ambien and passed. Oh, how I regret that...as I never slept for one minute the entire 12-13 (or 98 bazillion it felt like) hour flight! I believe that the airline was attempting to freeze dry us as we passed over the North Pole, as I've never been so cold in my entire life. Meanwhile, J began coughing up a lung, or so it seemed.
By the time we landed in Tokyo, J was grey and could hardly breathe. Lovely. Please keep in mind that I do not speak a work of Japanese or Chinese at this point, but she was fluent in several dialects so I felt safe. Huh. She decided that we should spend our time in the crowded smoking room, while she did her best to inhale between coughs and gags. After a lovely layover we boarded again for another 5 hour flight to China.
And did I mention that J developed a fear of flying during this trip????
After landing and getting our luggage, I noticed a strong smell. Hmmm...smells like Bourbon. Maker's Mark, perhaps? Luckily my suitcase was dry, so my emergency stash was just fine. As we walked among the stares and wrinkled noses to customs, J then had to argue with them, stating that she just had allergies. They finally let us in the country.
Well, it was the middle of the night (imagine that.) There were not very many cabs, and J insisted on arguing with all of them about the rate to get us to our hotel. We finally got to the hotel, and as the cabbie opened the trunk for our luggage, he started screaming in Chinese. Somehow his trunk was full of a 5th of bourbon! We had to pay him about $50 USD value to get him to stop screaming at us. Now, where to find a cleaners in the middle of the night, as all my clothes were soaked and glass shard coated????
For the next blog I'll address the run in with the Chinese Mafia at the massage parlor later that night...