Day 1 – 18+ Hours of Flying
I didn’t know my body could hurt so much from just *sitting*. However, after a twelve hour nonstop from LAX to Beijing, then standing for two hours in lines for customs, and then yet another three-and-a-half-hour flight, everything hurts. The worst is probably my ears; I was recovering from a cold I just happened to get the week before leaving, so my sinuses were still sensitive. My ears popped through every takeoff and landing, and hurt in between.
Jess began her trip Thursday afternoon with a delay leaving New York. Perhaps that was an omen of the rest of her domestic flights. Luckily, her connecting flight in Phoenix was also delayed, but we were panicking trying to develop a plan B assuming that it wasn’t. Upon arriving in Los Angeles an hour and a half late, we found that her bags had not made the transfer. We are hoping that when we arrive in Hong Kong, we will get good news that her bag is soon to follow.
I took an Uber from Irvine to meet her at her arriving flight, then hurried over to the international terminal after the delay of tracking town down her luggage. We left LAX at 1:40 AM.
For my first international flight, I definitely went all in with a twelve hour nonstop. The flight wasn’t as tortuous as I would have thought, despite counting on Wi-Fi to help pass the time. I don’t typically sleep well on planes, and though this one was no exception, the intermittent thirty minutes to two hour naps helped time go quickly. I was also surprised that we were served two full meals, though I was desperate for more than the one ounce shots of water and tea poured. Feeling dehydrated, I didn’t even take advantage of the free booze. I greatly lament not stopping for a bottle of water when we got pass security before our flight.
We were relieved to land in Beijing around 5:00 am. The airport is expansive but was eerily quiet when we deplaned. Generally confused as to where to go, we ended up standing in the wrong line for over thirty minutes before being directed to the right located. During the wait, we struggled figuring out the Wi-Fi, but managed eventually.
By the time we got to our gate the airport was beginning to buzz with life. I made my first purchase in China at a little coffee shop near our gate. My medium coffee cost 48 something, yen maybe? I’m still not sure how much I paid. (edit, the conversion rate is about 0.13 USD = 1 HKD, though I’m not sure I paid in HKD or Yen.)
We are getting close to arriving in Hong Kong now, less than an hour left in our flight. At first I tried to sleep, but gave it up to all the aches and pains. I was surprised again that they served a meal on this flight, especially given the short duration.