We made it to China - It was a lot of flying, but we finally made it!
We took off from Omaha in a small, 50 passenger plane. We got to the airport about 2 1/2 hours early and took about 1/2 hour to check in and find out gate. We sat around by our gate, reading and doing puzzles. I found out that it costs $6.95 for 24 hours of Internet Access at each airport - since we were only going to be there for a little while, and I really didn't have any updates to do yet, I didn't purchase it. I figured I might purchase it at LA.
We boarded on time and lifted off at 4:20 heading for Chicago. This plane had one row of seats, the isle and two rows of seats on the other side. The flight was a short 1 hour flight and then we had a 2 hour layover. We were thinking of eating in Chicago, but the lines at the restaurants in the airport were very long. With a 2 hour layover, we only had about an hour to pass anyway.
Again, we boarded our plane on time. This plane was a little larger, more like what I have flown on before. It had 3 rows of seats on each side of the isle. The area above our seats was already full, so we didn't have any room for our carry-ons. We ended up putting our carry-ons under the seats in front of us along with the laptop, camera bag and purses that we usually put under the seats. It was very crowded for our feet - it was not a comforable 4 hours. Although we boarded on time, we taxied and waited for all the other planes in line ahead of us for slightly more than half an hour. We finally did get taken off and headed for Los Angeles. They played the movie King Kong on the flight, but we didn't purchase the headphones to listen to it. Four hours later, we were landing at LAX.
It is now 11:45pm Central Time, 9:45pm LA time. Our plane from LA to Hong Kong is supposed to take off in 4 hours. The first thing we wanted to do was eat dinner. By 10:00, most all of the stores and restaurants in the LAX airport were closed which surprised me. We found a Burger King and paid about $8 each for a double bacon cheeseburger, regular fries and regular drink. My sister tried to order it with no mustard, this Burger King wasn't 'have it your way.'
Once we were done eating, there wasn't anything else to do since all the shops were closed. We looked at the screens to see what gate we were going to be leaving from, but there was no gate listed for our flight, so we asked someone. We found out that the International flights are in a different building - which meant we would have to go though the security checks again. This was probably the longest security check line we had all the way to Beijing - it took us about 15 minutes to get though. We got to our gate and I found out that there was no Internet available in the International building, or at least, not the way that it was in all the other airports where you just connect and purchase. We had a few hours before our next flight, so we sat and dozed.
Our next flight was the big one. We were flying from LA to Hong Kong. This plane was huge, especially compared to our first, 50 passenger plane. This plane had 3 rows or seats along each window and 4 rows in the middle. You could also tell by the windows in the plane that there was an upper level and lower level of seats near the front of the plane. We boarded on time once again and left the runway, headed for Hong Kong by 1:45am Pacific Time.
1:45am Pacific Time is 4:45pm Hong Kong time. About an hour in to this 15 hour flight, we got dinner again. My sister and I chose chicken, mom had pasta. It was all pretty good. On this flight, we followed the coast lines. To get from LA to Hong Kong, we flew all the way up over Anchorage, Alaska. We each had our own tv in the back of the seat in front of us. We had the choice of about 20 different channels to watch - some movies, some tv shows. Most of the channels had an english version and a chinese version - all of them had chinese subtitles. We also had about 25 music channels we could listen to, but I didn't find any that I cared for. We could also watch where our plane was on the map, speed, altitude, etc. We slept as much as we could, but it wasn't real comfortable for sleeping. We got breakfast about an hour or so before we landed. We all chose the omelet instead of the conjee, which is chinese porridge - boiled rice.
We landed in Hong Kong at 8:05am HK time. We got our boarding passes and went through another security check. This security check was very quick as there was no lines at all. Our flight for Beijing wasn't going to leave for another 4 hours so the gate for our it was not listed yet. We wandered down the very long airport to the shops at the end and looked around. The prices didn't seem much different than US once converted to our currency. We didn't buy anything as we were traveling carry-on only and had all of our carry-ons packed to the brim already. When we come home, we'll have checked luggage so we'll have more room.
We found the gate that our flight was going to take off from and waited again. The plane we took this time was a little bigger than the one from Chicago to LA, but smaller than the one from LA to Hong Kong. This one had 2 rows of seats by each window and four in the middle. This was the first flight that we didn't have a window seat, so I couldn't take any pictures. Shortly after take off, we got lunch. We all chose the Hungarian Beef Goulash over the Sauteed Pork Dices with Pumpkin and Black Bean Steamed Rice. I thought about the rice, but decided we would be eating a lot of actual chinese food in the next few weeks, this was just airplane food anyway. During the flight, they showed Last Holiday and provided the headphones for us free. This flight took off about 20 minutes late, but made up most of the time in the air during the 3 hour flight. We landed in Beijing at 3:15pm. Beijing is the same time as Hong Kong. Once we got to Beijing, we had to go through the Border Control. There were about 40 lines and they were all long. Once we got to them, they stamped our passports, and we were officially in China! We found our travel guide and were headed to our hotel.
I'd like to welcome you to come along with us by checking out this site every day for updates. You can also visit my mom's web site at http://www.rainbowhorses.com/tyler.html, and I strongly encourage you to join us at our forum to ask questions, post comments or anything else.
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