So the day comes, my alarm rings and what do I do? Hit the snooze button! I doze for another half hour untill my mum wakes me up in a panic, you’re late. A few minutes of headless chicken running untill I realise there’s another train 20 min after the one I was supposed to catch and I will still make it on time for the flight. Phew, crisis averted. Hopefully thats my mistake for the trip and now should be smooth sailing.
I arrive at the airport, find the checkin desk and start queing like the best of them. As the line snakes its way a find a few familiar faces: Ahmad, Eldridge and Anna, who is slightly flustered after having a similar incedent to me. Fantastic, 4 of us on the same flight, whetever happens at least were not alone. We find our flight out of sydney is delayed by an hour meaning we could miss our connecting flight from Guangzhou to Dalian. Oh well, guess us 4 will have to run. But wait who’s this at the gate?. A crazy beenie, glasses and big climbing boots. It can only be Cristian, the fantastic 4 becomes the famous 5.
The flight was uneventfull, except for the 3 half movies I got to watch before the machine broke in the middle of each one. Actualy the most entertaining thing was the video to avoid DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis). On the western airlines it’s some old woman walking up and down or rotating her ankles. Not on China Southern. They pull out a full tai chi video showing you moves, breathing and how to find your pressure points. I glance away from the screen to see half the plane waving their arms in sync to this video. I sight i’ve only seen at a football match. A sign of things to come.
We land, and I’m up the back so I’m one of the last to get off the plane. I see a clock and we have 10 minutes before our next flight takes off. I’m naive in my hope that we can make it. Walking down the tunnel I see my 4 commrades to the left and a little lady in the centre holding a sheet of paper with my name on it. But only my name. I say “thats me” and she slaps a sticker on my chest and tells me to wait on the right, away from everyone else. ?!?. Dangerous thoughts run through my head as I try and work out why I’ve been singled out. Then I’m told to follow her as she strides towards the customs. Motioning back to the others they follow aswell. We all get through passport control but not before a security guard tried to kick us out of the line for not being Chinese or Eldridge performing a disappearing act for a couple of minutes making Anna and I think he’d been dragged off to a back room somewhere.
At the baggage carousel the little lady appears, dragging me away again to go through another security check. I’m clean and she tells me to go to the transfer desk.
“What about my suitcase?”
“Its ok, its ok, taken care of”
“Well, what about my friends? Can I go and get them?”
“Yes, its ok”
Slightly puzzled I run back to the baggage carousel to grab the others when I spy my suitcase travelling around and around. WTF!!! The only question that’s running through my head is when are we geeting out of here? Eventually all of us have our bags, except Cristian, and needless to say we have well and truly missed the connection.
So the airline offers to get us a hotel, which we accept. We watch as organised chaos ensues behind the transfer desk with no less than 5 people per monitor, all trying to do their own thing. 15 minutes go by before the little lady returns with our booking. In the mean time Cristian has asked 3 different people about his bag and luckily found someone who knew where it was. Sitting on a trolly in the midle of the terminal. How it got there, nobody knows.
5 of us, still alive, all have our bags and we’re heading for the hotel. Nothing else could go wrong could it?