So, 1st travel day. Margi drops me off at DIA, beautiful morning, stubborn check in person who would rather tell me I can’t check my bag through to Bangkok rather than figuring out how to do it. Persevere, almost an hour later I head for security, pull out my boarding passes, I have only two, not the one I need first. Back to my friendly United agent, yep she spaced it, prints me a new one and hands it to me. My confidence regarding the likelihood of my bag following me to Bangkok continues to erode. My extra time has been gobbled up and I grab a turkey/bacon wrap, my tummy is empty. Munching away as I board, the United flight is prompt, full, and smooth.
Ahh, LAX, everyone’s favorite airport, take the bus to terminal 2, head for security again, they turn me back saying I need a more complete boarding pass from the China Air desk. Big crowd, slow line, fairly small space, longish wait to get to the counter. My boarding pass won’t print. About an hour later I get and “emergency” pass and head back to security. Zip through and down to the gate. No hurry, the flight is 3+ late and I will miss my connection to Bangkok.
Small terminals in LAX, China air had given us $10 food voucher, good at Burger King or Wolfgang Puck’s. The later is a bar, TVs, football coming on in a bit. Lunch and a beer seems to be in order. What a racket, my $10 voucher takes the edge off the price of a chicken Ceasar salad, but doesn’t cover it. The pint of Sam Adams tastes good, but for $8.75 you gotta want it. Guilliermo, the bartender, was entertaining and helped to ease the pain of trying to watch the 14” TV over the bar.
The food is boring, bland, rather unappealing, but satisfying on the basic hunger level none the less. The conversation is entertaining, a few more folks in my same or similar plights. I email BFC regarding my delay and settle in to enjoy seeing the Falcons play SF, something I wasn’t planning to be able to see, a bright side for the day. I begin to have deja vue and realize this bar is the very same one I sat in and watched football on my way to New Zealand when I was bound for Antartica. Well, LAX is getting very small in my memories. All the visits with students were OK, and always with my mind on the group. Today, just me, very relaxing.
China Air finally loads, I am happy with a forward exit row seat, lots of room and easy to move around. But, I am in kidville. The Indian family behind me have two whiny, screechy, very annoying kids with them. Thank goodness for headphones and music. We get dinner and then after “night time” we get the lunch that was intended to be the first meal. Beijing, miles of walking, go to many desks, often the wrong one or in the wrong order, but in the end we’re on a shabby shuttle bus bound for the Golden Pheonix Hotel with a 72 hour visa stamp in our passports.
Gaudy lights with a vague Christmas theme, the occasional Santa or red hat. Check in and am happy to have a bed and shower compliments of China Air. Dinner is the “delayed passengers buffet”, rice, cabbage, deep fried breaded, lots of batter, chicken, and beef that was so soft and tasteless I could hardly swallow my one bite. The cabbage was pretty good, the rice adequate, and the chicken marginal. The epicurean side of this venture is not a main attraction.
Nice night’s sleep, looking forward to the shower, and amused that I cannot log onto my blogspot. Apparently China does limit internet access, I’ll try again in the Bangkok airport.