I am glad the grueling flight is over. It all started out with me and Mai taking the magic little blue sleeping pill. I had thought that I would start with a solid 8 hour sleep but it was not to be. For some reason I was only able to get about 4 hours. It is all so hazy now, I cannot recall exactly what the reason was. As we left Canada for Beijing, I noticed a bit of a change in Mai. She seemed to be concerned about something, and when I questioned her on it, my suspicions were confirmed. Part of the reason for this trip is to pick up and re-enter Vietnam with Mai’s newly established citizenship. I guess I can understand her concerns it must be a bit nerve wracking to return to a country that stripped you of your citizenship as a new citizen. It also did not help that she too was suffering from a lack of sleep and when that happens, I am the one to pay for it. (funny how that works). We arrived in Beijing and were told as we were getting off the plane that we would have to collect out luggage and take it to the domestic terminal. Huh? We have 4 boxes at the total weight limit. This is going to be exhausting. A button was slapped on our chests, and we were sent off into the unknown. We did not have declaration cards because we were going to another international destination, but this did not matter.. It turns out that we were required to fill out the form to enter because we were
catching a domestic flight… hw confusing. The airport in Beijing is huge!! People are shuffled about in automated trains and busses, and there are large expanses of real estate to cover even to pick up baggage. We found the baggage carousel after following some people onto a train who seemed to know where they were going. A man must have spotted our tags and showed up to help us with our journey. Thank God!! It had taken us about 1 of the 4 hours we had for a layover just to find us up to this point. All of the luggage had been emptied from the aircraft, and ours were nowhere to bee seen. In frustrated confusion, the Chinese fellow helping us motioned for us to follow this way and that, eventually ending up at the lost and fund area. After much arguing with the others co-workers, we were told “no problem”…… Well!!! Do you think our neck hairs did not stand on end? This was turning into a pressure cooker. Not only is our luggage lost, but I have heard this term for a long time, and it almost always means “Things will be screwed up sir” Add to that my wife’s mood and gone downhill quite a bit. Those who do not know, she can be quite a handful. Remember that she was willing, and almost did die to come to Canada, she when she makes up her mind abut something….. Wow!…. anyway… The fellow finally got us to our connection and then asked for 15 Yuan. Oh Oh… I did not have
any Chinese money. Mai thought it was some kind of corruption thing which made her mood even worse, however, it was legit. There is a charge for the service he provided us with. We searched around for an ATM machine and at last I was able to take out 100 Yuan and pay the fellow. My change wag given and it was with a relieved goodbye that we cleared security for the second time into the domestic terminal. We followed the signs to our gate and were led to the very end of the building and encountered an escalator showing out gate to be down 2 floors at street level. Huh?….. uh…. OK. Down we went to find a small room with very few benches and lights out. We were a bit baffled, but after a while, somebody turned on the lights and the flight number appeared in the sign. Ah relief!, We boarded our connecting flight to Saigon, via Nanning China. We are tired and cranky and on our way we thought. We were hoping our lost baggage would show up in Nanning, and perhaps we could just sleep right through the remaining time…. NOPE. As we approached Nanning, we had to fill out yet another declaration form and were advised we had to remove all our belongings and proceed into the terminal. What? This is only a 35 minute layover. Oh well… WE departed, stood in line to declare nothing, went through a maze of corridors, checked through security for a 3rd time, and boarded the same aircraft we had just exited… Sheesh!! I imagine there was a good reason for this, but man we are tired. Back on the plane and to
Saigon we flew. We arrived at 2:30 am and to out total amazement we cleared customs with Mai’s new passport, and found all of our luggage on the carousel in good condition. We were out the door in record time. Wow!! Now we only have to wait for three and a half more hellish hours for the next flight. We were met by 2 nephews that took our large boxes and delivered them to NhaTrang via bus. What nice guys…. After clearing security for the 4th time, we enjoyed the 40 minute flight home. I even fell asleep for about 15 minutes. So there you have it, 36 hours worth of flights. I am sorry, but for those of you coming from North America, expect a really long day. Again without a hitch, we walked passed the aggressive cabs and found a car to take us home for half the price.
We arrived home to find the power was out yet again. There is no way I was going to sleep even though the generator was cooling the rooms, so…….. On to my bike I lept off for another adventure. First it was to meet My bud for a mango smoothie, then off to………………………