Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Trip Home

The hired van - our pile of luggage would not fit in a normal taxi - arrived at Shanghai's Pudong International Airport (PVG) on Thursday April 30th at 1:00 PM after an uneventful 30 minute ride from Sun-Ling's parents' apartment. We pushed our luggage carts, stacked high with the maximum number and poundage of both checked-in and carry-on bags, towards the Delta counter to check in for the 3:35 PM DL18 only to find it unmanned. Oh no!

It turns out that the Thursday DL18 flight from Shanghai to Atlanta that we had purchased back in September 2008 had been canceled/stopped/rescheduled many months ago. How did we manage to turn up for a flight that did not exist? ... A combination of bad luck, poor service by Delta, and our own stupidity. I'll spare you the long version.

After a call to Delta, we found out that we were booked on the next day's 3:35 PM DL18, took a room on our own dime at the Airport Hotel 168, located conveniently between Terminal One and Terminal Two, and flew back home on May 1st.

View from our hotel room towards Terminal One.
Terminal One - Pudong International Airport - PVG - Shanghai, China

The kindness of strangers. On the morning of May 1st, we were standing at the KFC counter lamenting that we could not buy a 10 RMB cup of coffee since we only had 7.9 RMB in cash and KFC does not take credit cards when an older American guy overheard us and handed me a 100RMB note (about $14). Even though we were not in real difficulty - there was an ATM just around the corner - I took his "gift" after he told us his "stranded with no money" story. He was so sincere in his kind offer that it seemed best to say "thank you very, very, much" take the bill. [Agree or disagree? Post a comment.]

The flight to Atlanta was normal although the veggie meals seemed a little small, but there were lots of snacks available. I watched 3 movies - Yes Man was enjoyable - and 2 documentaries, but only slept for an hour or two. We breezed through immigration and customs in Atlanta. Our friends Tony and Wang Kui picked us up at the airport, took us by Harris Teeter to pick up some groceries, and delivered us home.

The next morning I re-connected its battery and the Forester started right up after a 6-month hibernation. And on Monday morning we drove down to the DMV, paid our $33 fee and $100 fine and picked up a new license plate. Lesson learned: Don't let your Liability Insurance lapse if you live in NC.

Two weeks later. The house seems in good order. All the major appliances still work. I made 2 minor repairs to the lawnmower... It is very satisfying to repair a broken lawnmower... Life is good.

1 comment:

Cathy Huemer said...

Yes, I would have taken the kind offer as well and now you can pay it forward:)

Ingo just purchased a new lawn mower-ours was past repair. But now we have a state of the art self propelled mower...Life IS good-agreed!