[P]reviously on Fred’s China Trip Day #1, Fred and company had flown into Los Angeles International airport to change planes, gather luggage, and check-in to Air China for their 13 hour flight to Beijing. It is shortly after 1a on Monday, November 9th, as Fred has passed U.S. Customs and now enters LAX’s International terminal for his 2:50a flight to Beijing.
It’s Time to Get Excited on the Longest Day Ever
1a My large luggage is checked to China, and I flew through US security inside LAX’s International terminal. International security was a breeze, as I guess brown shorts and green Crocs don’t fit any profiling threats. They didn’t even harass me about having two laptops in my carry-on or require me “to cough,” like last time.
Everybody in this terminal is coming or going some place in the world outside of the United States. What I LOVE about our country is you cannot tell who is an American based on ANY outward appearance. America is filled with diversity of all cultures from every nationality representing every walk of life. It is so beautiful to sit and really people watch, which I did briefly while regathering my laptops after security.
1:45a It’s time to eat. With Lisa and Debbe, we decide our last and final US meal should be American. Nothing represents the artery clogging American delegating spirit like a good ol’ all beef burgers with grease dripping fries. We thought it very important to eat, since Air China only serve two full meals on our 13 hour flight. Additionally, we stop to buy bottles of water, a bag of Trail Mix, Pringles and M&Ms, to share in case we experienced any further unexpected delays.
2a For some reason, our Chinese Bridge coordinators have no problem identifying me against the vast backdrop of people groups. I must look like their typical delegate, as they immediately identified me by name.
3a We are delayed just a bit due to “mechanical difficulties” and they do “at-the-gate” random passport spot check. I often wonder if any airline’s PR departments ever edits the broadcasting of public service announcements. “So is there a screw loose in the Lavatory, or is the entire left wing falling off?” Some details I just don’t want to know.
3:30a We’re on the plane! I passed through the gorgeous First Class section, that featured your own mini sleeping beds, and five course meals with real silverware. Then I passed through Business Class, with roomy seats, eye shades, and hot exfoliating towels. I finally arrived at my “No Class” section, where I would have a chicken or beef TV dinner, complete with plastic ware, and a flower fragrant moist towelette. I didn’t complain about my middle middle seat out of a row of nine, as I was sitting between two great HEBISD gals, Lisa and Debbe. I figured I’d take one for the team, as they would muffle and buffer me against my snoring and drooling. I would hate for a selfie with my mouth open to show up online somewhere.
Air China processed a very cute safety video. I learned that “you should secure your own oxygen mask, take a selfie, then assist your Panda with his.” That in an actual emergency “hyperventilating make cause the bag to not inflate, but this is normal. In the event of an actual emergency from which you live, you should get on your hands and knees and pray. Then if you are not ready, avoid the white light, but rather follow blue floor lighting to an “official” designated exit. Or follow the screaming to a newly crash created exit. Which, at the time, make actually be above, underneath, or behind you. Take a moment and try to imagine where that nearest exit will be.” My Chinese Mandarin is spotty, but as a highly trained educator, I was able to translate and assess the highlights from Panda’s video PowerPoint.
The first TV dinner arrived. They called this meal “dinner.” And given the choice of chicken or beef, I chose beef. Because after all, “it’s what’s for dinner,” and it doesn’t taste like chicken. I should know, I had the chicken TV dinner for breakfast later on the flight.
[tweet “I ate four snacks, slept and drooled three hours, watched two movies, and wrote one blog post.”]
This flight was long and I got a little stir crazy. The first movie I chose, was a foreign film with Spanish subtitles. Can we say, “Self inflicted headache?” The second was spy kids movie called “Spy.” I need to remember this, as my kids would have loved it. I played online Sudoku. I played Pac-Man. I played Golf, until I realized I was disturbing the people sleeping in front of me. I couldn’t sleep and I resisted taking my A.D.D. medicine, as I figured I would need it right before we land. I am going to need some help to survive the longest day ever!
I kept spot checking the map, to see how close we were getting to Santa’s workshop. Then it hit me. We would be landing at 6a on Tuesday morning, November 10th. Where exactly did Monday go? I didn’t get a chance to official wish my wife, Happy Birthday. This will in fact be the longest day ever without sleep.
Images from Fred’s China Trip 11/08/2015, Click here to read Day #3.