Saturday, June 29, 2013

From TA to Travel- a Whirlwind!

We've never had this short of notice for traveling before so this was a unique situation.  On Monday morning I got word that our consulate appointment was confirmed, but I needed to wait to get confirmation that our provincial business was in order and that we could have a July 1st gotcha.  I think I heard later that night that that was in line as well. I called around on Tuesday morning for price quotes for flights and booked tickets late Tuesday night.  Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were full of busy work, crossing little things and big things off the to-do list.  I stayed up far too late the night before we left finishing packing, but it had to get finished.  Rick came home from an Ag teacher convention really late that same night.  We put the bags in the car and I tried to sleep, but didn't sleep well...combination of worrying about what I was forgetting, missing everyone at home, and the fear of the unknowns with travel. 

Thursday morning came quick and it was time to say goodbye.  Always so hard.  Rick, Evan, and I got in the car at about 6:30 a.m.  We stopped at Rick's school to make a few last minute copies and  check Rick in for his domestic flight and then headed to Chicago.  We got there around 8:30 a.m.  We took the subway to the terminal- Evan and I said a quick goodbye and then headed to the international terminal.  Rick headed towards his domestic terminal.  We got our first work-out for the day when we went up and down the terminal searching for United only to find out that United has its own terminal along with a couple other
airlines.  Oddly enough- United was listed in the Subway under just about every concourse and it did say international terminal...hmmm.  So we got back on the subway and went to terminal 1.  It didn't take too long to check in our two big bags.  Getting through security took a little longer.  We then found our gate and did some walking around and hanging out.   We talked to Rick before he took off for Nashville to train a team of teachers.  We even got to talk to him after he landed.  Our flight was at 12:30 p.m.  It was delayed to 1:15 p.m. for mechanical problems. That turned into 1:45, which turned into 2:30.   We eventually did load the plane and everyone was in their seats with their bags stowed, ready to go.  Many had started a movie.  YES- we had a movie screen in our seat this much better than last year.   We also got put in the Economy Plus section with a little more leg room because the Economy section had one open seat and we would be split up.  We were only one row ahead of another adoptive family I had connected with prior.  We were feeling good.  Then they came on and said that because things had taken longer than originally planned, they would need to find a whole new flight crew.  We had to get off the plane, with all of our carry-ons.  They said that we'd go at 6  p.m. and to be back in the concourse by 5:15 p.m. to load.   We got in line for food vouchers and then headed to get some dinner and make a few calls.   We came back shortly after 5 and eventually the screen said 6:30 instead of 6:00.  Then we watched a storm come in and the runway get backed up.  They still weren't ready.   Finally we had a new crew, but they had a bunch of paperwork to fill out.  We loaded around 7:00 maybe and sat on the plane for about 2 hours between waiting for the plane to pull back (still finishing paperwork) and waiting on the runway.   It felt so good to FINALLY be in the air. 

Evan was a trooper on the plane-only once he was not feeling so good.  He slept a chunk and watched a number of movies.  I watched quite a few myself and slept maybe a couple hours.   Evan seemed wide awake and full of energy the last hour or two, which made me worry he was not going to be able to go to sleep when we got there.   We landed shortly after 1:00 a.m.  Saturday morning.  Our scheduled time was 5:20 p.m. Friday night.  Go figure- the line for customs and immigration was enormous!   Went through that and then headed to get our bags.  That part was pretty easy.   Now was when I started to get nervous because it was between 2 and 3 a.m. and there were no shuttles running and everything inside the airport was closed.  I wondered how I'd change money to get a cab to the hotel.  We walked almost out and saw an ATM.  I got in line and when I went up, I put in our credit card.  Got almost all the way through only to find out you needed a pin and I am not aware that we even have one for our credit card and I don't own a debit card.   I tried the only 4 options it could be...nothing.  This is when God intervened not once, but twice.  A many behind me from the states offered to trade me some American money for Hong Kong money- he would just take extra out.  I got enough to cover the cab.  Thank God.   We walked out of that area to find the man who had been sitting next to Evan on the flight (goes to China often for business) waiting for us.  He already had gone to the Marriott desk and got a card for us with the address of our hotel.  He then gave me a $50HK bill in case we didn't have enough for the taxi.  He showed us where to line up for the taxi to Hong Kong island.  What a blessing!  I was in awe of how two strangers could be so kind and helpful...and oh so thankful.  We got in a very long line for a taxi to Hong Kong island.  Talked to two girls living in Hong Kong, but originally from New Zealand.   Caught the cab.  It was an expensive cab- crossing islands and adding tolls is not cheap!   We finally got to our hotel on Hong Kong island and checked in.  By the time we showered and got our stuff out for the morning, it was already 5:30 a.m.  Evan slept 4 straight hours til 9:30 a.m. I could only sleep 2 and even that was broken sleep.  I got ready to go at 7:30 a.m. and got online for a bit while waiting for Evan. I had to shake him pretty good to get him up at 9:30.   We finished getting ready and headed down to check out.  After checking out we caught a cab to the Hung Hom train station on Kowloon island.  We walked around the station to find the train heading to Guangzhou.  Found the desk and got our tickets.  We waited to board.  The train was a bit delayed.  We left around 11:45 a.m. and got in around 1:45 p.m.  A nice man from Hong Kong, originally from England, helped us get our bags from the terminal onto the train.  Yes, I do think I over-packed once again.   We found our seats and ended up talking to a lady behind us with her son and nanny- originally from Canada and her husband waiting for her was from Italy, but they were living and working in Guangzhou.  She had another son waiting for her too.  She was shocked that I could have so many kids and not have help.  She thought for sure I'd have a nanny.  I told her not many people by us have hired help. :)      We passed through many towns with orphanages I knew, including Bao'an- the area our son is from.   When we got close to Guangzhou, the man that had helped us earlier came to our part of the train and said he'd help me get the bags off the train to the platform and up the escalator.   The woman said she'd help too.   That was a little crazy, but I should have known- the Chinese people are always in a hurry, have little patience, and want to push there way through.  Cutting in line here happens OFTEN.    It was a zoo getting off the train- people in such a hurry and pushing to get up the escalator.  We made it to the top and got in line at the immigration desk.  Got our bags back together and  in order for me to handle myself and said our thank you's and goodbye's to the two nice people who had helped and talked to us.  We found the desk for the hotel shuttle and waited about 15 minutes for a shuttle.  Man is it humid here.  You just forget how humid it is- so hard to breathe even. 
Evan after arriving at the Hong Kong airport!

 Views from our hotel in Hong Kong after our couple hour sleep.

 Views of Hong Kong from our taxi to the train station.

 At the train station in Hong Kong waiting to board.
 Views of Hong Kong from the train.
 On the Train!

 View of China from the Train.

Waiting for the airport shuttle in Guangzhou, China! 

Our shuttle finally came and we got loaded and then dropped off at our hotel. It was such a good feeling to get checked in and to have our bags in our room.  And of course, air conditioning was nice too!   More about Guangzhou on the next post. 

1 comment:

  1. So glad you made it safely and had such wonderful people to help out!!


    Jennifer ( DTC fb group)