Thursday, 21 March 2013

... Indochina: The Flight That Never Ends

I have successfully managed to survive the flight that truly seemed like it would never end. Ever! It doesn't help either when, just off the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, your plane slows down by about 100 mph. Are we in a school zone or something?

I drifted in and out of sleep however the Devil Spawn were restless (aka loud) and I believe they were thinking "if we can't sleep then neither do the rest of you... So there!" It seemed to take forever to reach Japan as we flew along the northwest Pacific (Kuril-Kamchatka Trench). My piriformis & glute muscles, I suspected, had disowned me because I certainly couldn't feel any sensation there any more. Are we there yet?

The second meal was, at least for me, very tasty. More veggies and what appeared to be couscous patties. My row neighbour seemed to have misheard the stewardess, what he thought was "corn" turned out to be seafood congee. He had to ask me what on earth it was he was eating. There was a snack at some point too, admittedly it's all a blur, which for me were some rather tasty cucumber & tomato sandwiches.

For the final hour of the flight one poor kid cried.... for the entire hour. He was not a happy camper at all and seemed to be in pain judging from the "owww it hurts". Trust me, I know how you feel kid. Are we there yet?

It was my first time at Shanghai's Pudong airport and the impression was not that great. The transfer process was a bit odd for starters. Off the plane and into the terminal there was eventually a line that said 'International Transfers'. Naturally I headed for that. Turns out I first had to go to a counter where they checked your boarding passes/passports. A counter where no-one appeared to understand the concept of queuing. After a curt "excuse me" to the 3rd person that attempted to push in front of me I could finally follow the directions for transfer. The second stop was a counter where your boarding passes/passports were checked again. After that was a security check. From there you could head back into the terminal, which you really never left. Seemed like an annoying waste of time in my humble opinion but it wasn't like I was in any kind of rush so I can't really complain. Even though my flight landed later than scheduled, I still had over 4 hours to wait for my 4+hr flight to Bangkok.

The first thing I noticed about Pudong was how it smelt. There were smoking areas but no real attempt was made at keeping that smell from the rest of the terminal. It was very spacious & roomy with lots of light and windows, may be in a feeble attempt to make you forget about all that secondhand smoke you're going to spend your time in transit inhaling? But for an airport this size (or at least terminal 1), the shopping options and eateries are ridiculously limited and overpriced. A bottle of water at Coffee & Cates cost me over $6!?! Still they helped me out with the "harder than it needs to be" set up of the 'free' wifi by giving me the login & pass code saving me the rigmarole of registering for it via SMS (and thus incurring roaming fees) so I guess it evens out. The wifi was a tad sporadic and I reckon any social media sites that suddenly were not working was more than just coincidence.....

Yes it had been an incredibly long day, I was 15 hours ahead of the time I'm used to and the day was still not over. I was running on jet engine fumes I think, or may be second hand nicotine.

Are we there yet?

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