Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Unbelieveably, I'm Back

I made it back from Manila (barely). I was the last person on the plane in Shanghai and I was the last person on the plane in Chicago.

I knew it was going to be a bad 24 hours when I checked in at Manila and they said "You only have 1 hr 10 min in Shanghai? It takes at least 2 -3 hours to get through there." They tried to get me to reschedule (no, I am going home! My doggie needs me! Plus I can't face another death defying taxi ride). They asked with whom I booked. When I said expedia they replied, "don't use them they are terrible." Hello! Done deal!

The people at Philippines airline were very nice. They priority seated me so I could disembark quickly (row 5C) and priority stickered my bags which have to be retrieved in China. Once I arrived in China, I picked up my bags, cleared customs and tried to figure out where I needed to go. Turns out it was out the exit then to Terminal 1. I was hauling a**. It was 90+ in the airport (which is modern, new and huge). I walked/ran for probably 20 min. They I had to go thru security. It was ridiculous. I mean I'm glad they are through, but come on. My carry-on went through the machine 4x. They took everything out and check all of it. Sent the empty bag through. Loaded the bag back up and sent it through again. Repeat. And repeat. I had to throw out my appropriately bagged and sized hand sanitizer. Turns out it was a barrette causing the problem. It was in with my granola bars. Then they found another barrette that was in somewhere else. I had no idea what was in there. I've been gone 13 days. I was just throwing and stuffing things into my bags. I still had to clear the machine, too. Then attempt to put my shoes back on. Grab my 3 bags, my passport pouch and my sweatshirt. Check my bags and make it to my gate. I got waived through the last two check-type points. I had to run down an escalator and a hallway as well as the longest jet bridge ever. They closed the door on the plane as soon as I entered.

I had a decent seat though. I was on the aisle and the 2 seats next to me were empty. I was watching Flawless some movie with Demi Moore and Michael Caine. It was good. Of course, the customs/landing video came on during the last 10 min of the movie so I don't know how it ended.

The plane was a 777 so we had our own video screens where we could select movies, audio, tv shows or play games. I watched Monk and the office for the first time ever. They are both pretty funny. I also played concentration and solitaire (which i don't know how to play evidently).

When we arrived in Chicago at 4:20 pm on Monday (I left Shanghai at 4:10 pm on Monday). I had to clear immigration. There were 10 rows of the snake through back and forth kind to traverse. I got through that at 5:10. Then I had to get my luggage and clear customs. I was still waiting for my bags at 5:30. I was waiting in the customs line at 5:40 which was the boarding time for my last flight. Once you get thru customs in terminal M you have to take a train to Terminal G (you get off the train at K). Then because you live in podunk you have to go all the way to the end of G for your gate. I was walking/sprinting gasping for breath with unbuckled shoes trying to make my plane. I could almost see Gate 21 when i heard the final boarding call. They were starting to close the gate door when they heard/saw me coming (fat chick panting and sweating, looking desperate). If I hadn't made that flight I would have burst into tears. I was hot, smelly, exhausted, starving, thirsty and needing to go potty. I can't believe they waited for me.

It was a short 38 min flight home. Iowa is so pretty with the green patchwork fields. I see the corn is starting to tassle. My mom was there to get me. My bags appeared. All is well.

I got home, did some laundry, took a shower and collapsed on my comfy pillowtop mattress. Kurt has the same flights I did. He comes home on Wednesday. He's sick though. He has a virus, a sinus infection, or general crud. He was able to get some Mucinex like stuff at one of the pharmacies and says he's feeling somewhat better. I hope he can make it home.

I need to pick up our mail, buy some food, and go liberate my puppy. I hope he doesn't hate me.

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