We started our journey to China just fine and excited. Our tour company, EBM, which sponsored our China Discovery trip gave us a lot of useless tourist paraphernalia that we nixed right away. We got green vinyl bags with hello lettering, stickers that said China Discover and not one, but two pins to wear with the same tour name, in different colors!
Well, we had no choice, we had to wear the pin so we'd be recognized at Hong Kong's Kai Tak Airport*. We made it t he airport on time and met Chu, our EBM representative. After check in, Cheryl and I went to the airport gift shop. We decided we needed to be literate on this trip so we bought paperbacks. Red Storm Rising for me, and Bonfire of the Vanities for Cheryl.
Since airline food is airline food, we thought it best to eat something at the airport restaurant. We soon realized that the airport food offered just as horrible of a selection! We got a good seat, right by the airport monitor. We took turns going up to get food so one of us could stay with the bags. I went up first. Basically I managed to only get a tray because of all the crazies on the line who were essentially on top of the person in froth of them. As I was making my way down the concession line, I realized I need to go back since I passed what I wanted. But there was no way -- people behind me wouldn't let me back in line so I had to reclaim my original spot and was barely able to get a cup of tea!!
Cheryl battled the line next and learning from my experienced, do not let herself get pushed an shoved by the crowd. She managed to get us two big bowls of rice. we were cracking up because as Cheryl was on line, we were kind of being the obnoxious New Yorkers that we are. Her mission was to go on the line and report to me each thing she saw so I could give her a yay or a nay from the table. Needless to say there wasn't a hell of a selection and that's how we ended up with two bowls of rice.
We boarded fight MU 502 to Shanghai as the last passengers. We thought it better to just camp out at the gate and wait for the line to end and board like civilized human beings. Cheryl and I had a lot of laughs on this plane ride. There was a guy, diagonally in front of us who was really going at it picking his teeth. We got a laughing fit because as he was doing this, he turned around and caught Cheryl's eye.
At Shanghai Airport, we we were waring our green China Discovery pins so that the local tour guide would be ble to identitfy us. Of course, we had no way of knowing who our guide was and we were gutting rather antsy because here we were, two gweilos** ("white devil") in a communist country and we were waiting for stranger to come up and guide us through this city - which is precisely what happened!
Stay tuned for my China Trip Throwback Part 2: Lost Passport Scare Upon Arrival in Shanghai in two weeks.
* Note: Kai Tak Airport was the international airport of Hong Kong from 1925 until 1998, when it was closed and replaced by the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, 30 LM to the west.
** Note: Gweillo is a common Cantonese slang term for foreigners