Monday, June 09, 2008

Travel Day

Mary Louise's brother Jim picked us up at 8:30 am June 8, 2007 and drove us to the airport. We checked in and proceeded to the TSA checkpoint. Greg and Greg Jr. passed right through but Mary Louise was pulled aside for "further screening". As those of you who know her can attest she very much comes across as the "terrorist" type. We then went out on the concourse and settled down to have a little breakfast and wait on our flight.

Our flight to Detroit was delayed an hour by weather but we were told we would make our connection to Tokyo.

Mary Louise does not like to fly. REALLY does not like to fly. In fact she would rather pull her own teeth! Unfortunately for her the plane we were on to Detroit was one of the rather small 50 seat commuters. The weather was bad and the flight was very turbulent. The flight attendant actually unstrapped from her jump seat and made her way down the isle to check on Mary Louise before the wheels on the plane were even up. I'm sure she broke some FAA regulation in doing so. I reassured the flight attendant that she would be ok and we settled in for our ride to Detroit.

We did make our connection in Detroit. We had just minutes to spare and grabbed a quick bite to eat while sitting at the gate waiting to board the Tokyo flight.

Once airborne we settled in and watched several movies and tried to rest and sleep as much as possible. We were lucky in that we were able to reserve seats with a bulkhead in front of us so we had plenty of leg room and could even prop our feet up. The flight was uneventful, just VERY long. Over 12 hours.

By the time we landed in Tokyo Mary Louise was a seasoned air traveler and she even looked out the window while we taxied to the gate. Once again it was get off one plane and go directly to the next. When we arrived at the departure gate the plane was already boarding. After the 12 hour flight to Tokyo we were looking forward to the "short" 5 hour flight to Beijing.

We landed in Beijing at 9:30 pm on June 9, 2007 China time. It was now 8:30 am back at home. We had been traveling for 24 hours.

Once on the ground we quickly and easily made our way through baggage claim and immigration and out into the airport. Our guide/faclilitator Lifeng was waiting to greet us. He showed us out to the parking garage to his car. I will never forget walking out of that airport. The heat, smoke, smog, and exhaust fumes would knock you down. You could see, smell, taste and feel it. It was overpowering.

The ride into downtown Beijing was great. Lifeng drove us the 30 minute ride to the Trader's Hotel. We checked in and made plans to meet Lifeng in the lobby the next morning for our first day of siteseeing.

We then went to our room. Greg Jr. and Dad ordered room service and Mary Louise went directly to bed. After eating and showering Greg Jr. and Dad quickly followed Mom's lead. We were very tired but very excited to finally be in China.

No comments: