Once I was done going through security again, I set off to find the Starbucks. It was about as far away from my flight’s gate as possible in the same terminal but I found it.
I was on a mission to find city mugs and although there were lots of options most were for cities I didn’t know. I picked out three (two Beijing and one China) and paid 90 yuan each.
When I walked back close to the gate, I found the six other LA travelers from the tour and they told me where to get water and I also found diet coke. It was 4 yuan for a bottle of soda and 11 yuan for a tiny bottle of water.
I paid for an hour of internet with Boingo ($4.95) and connected to the world while enjoying that diet coke (first one in 11 days) and nuts I brought. We moved to the gate about 8 pm as boarding would start sometime in the next 30 minutes. About 8:20 they took the wheel chair folks and then the rest of us started boarding after.
What I didn’t anticipate was inspection of our carryons for …. you guessed it, water. I was saving my water for the flight and they took it away from me. Apparently Beijing water isn’t allowed in LA but I don’t understand why that inspection isn’t done on the US side because most of us wouldn’t have any left.
I was pleased with the location of my aisle seat and the fact that there was an empty middle seat between me and a young woman who slept just about the entire flight.
We pulled away from the gate just a few minute late and have a smooth take off after a short wait. The skies are clear tonight and I can see the lights of Beijing as we climb.
The flight attendants served drinks about 45 minutes into the flight followed 20-30 minutes later by a meal. The choice was duck with rice or beef with rice.
The beef was good but a bit spicy. It came with a warm roll and butter, chocolate cake and a salad I didn’t try because of the meat on top.
The tray also came with an envelope to donate spare Yuan to charity. I thought that was a good way to get rid of my last 7 yuan and donated it. After another drink service, the flight attendants remove the trays, sell duty free items before passing out US custom forms.
While all this was going on I watched my first move of the night — Man of Steel. I can see why it didn’t do great at the box office. I took an ambien courtesy of one of the ladies on the tour after the tray was cleared and eventually fell asleep for about 3 hours.
Upon waking I amused myself watching nearly the entire season of Good Girls Revolt that I had downloaded at home. About three hours before landing the lights came on and we were asked to put up seats for the second meal service and drink.
The breakfast choices were Chinese porridge or western omelette. I took the omelette and it seemed all the Chinese people around me took the porridge just like they took the duck at dinner.
Then it was back to the iPad for more TV. About an hour before landing I repacked my backpack and just read on the kindle until they made us power down all electronics 30 minutes before landing.
Landing went smoothly but we were about 12 minutes late. I got off the plane pretty fast being near the front of economy (35J) and was the first one through global entry.
It was about 10-15 minute wait for my bags and then I zipped through customs. The shuttle came about 5-10 minutes after I got to the pickup spot and I was at my hotel just 75 minutes after landing. Hard to believe the evening before Thanksgiving!
Due to the very long travel day and the fact that there’d be tons of Thanksgiving travelers, I had decided to stay another night in Los Angeles and take a morning train back to San Diego. I stayed at the same hotel as my pre-China stay.
Once there I stashed my bags in the room and went across the street to McDonald’s to grab dinner before I got so exhausted it wouldn’t be possible.
The next morning, I ubered to Union Station which wasn’t much more than the bus from the airport and a lot quicker. Other than the track being changed at the last minute, the trip home was smooth. It was a great trip but it was great to be home with my husband.
Don’t miss the previous China posts linked below.
Going to China (tour and visa)
China: Trip Preparations
November 12-13, 2016: Travel to Beijing
November 14, 2016: Beijing and Great Wall
November 14, 2016: Ming Tombs and Peking Duck Dinner
West International Trade Hotel Beijing
November 15, 2016: Hutong and Temple of Heaven
November 15, 2016: Tiananmen Square, Fobidden City and Beijing Opera
November 16, 2016: Pearl Factory and Summer Palace
November 16, 2016: Traveling to Xi’an
November 17, 2016: Jade Factory and Terra Cotta Warriors
November 17, 2016: Dumpling Dinner and Tang Dynasty Opera
Grand Barony Xian Hotel
November 18, 2016: Traveling to Wuhan
Howard Johnson Pearl Plaza Wuhan
November 19, 2016: Wuhan to Jingzhou
November 19, 2016: Boarding the Century Diamond
November 20, 2016: Yangtze River and Three Gorges Dam
November 21, 2016: Yangtze River and Goddess Stream
November 22, 2016: Yangtze River and Shibaozhai Pagoda
November 23, 2016: Chongqing to Beijing