Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Olympics V 2.0

Ok, so I totally jinxed myself because on the plane I noted to myself that it had been, so far, the best international economy flight I had ever taken for various reason which I will talk about later... Two weeks ago I drove up to San Francisco just to get my equipment declaration sheet signed. I was hoping that that drive - 45 minutes up, an hour to get the sheet signed, 45 minutes back, would be the biggest hassle. Unfortunately it wasn't. When I arrived in Beijing at about 11:00 pm I found that my bags did not make the short connection - we took off 30 minutes late so I only had a 45 minute layover in Hong Kong. So I'm sitting at baggage claim and I see a lady carrying a placard with my name on it, I'm thinking to myself - hey that's neat - well it was merely to let me know my bags didn't make it.

To make a long and boring story short, it took 2 hours to deal with the lost bag people and customs. The worst part is that I cannot have the bag delivered to my room (4 years ago my bags also didn't arrive - but they delivered them) because I have to declare the gear. So I have to make a trip back to the airport just to pick up my bags so that I can properly declare them. Dealing with a lost bag/customs after 17 hours of air travel is not fun.

But the flight to Hong Kong was nice, I flew in on B747-400... when I booked my ticket way back in December of '07 I noticed that towards the back of the plane, where it starts to narrow (bow) down there were only two seats next to the window instead of three because of the shape of the plane. So that is where I booked my seat - I get kinda claustrophobic...

I was super surprised to have the seat next to me remain open! Amazingly there are at least 20 open seats just in the back of the plane. When I booked my flight I could have sworn that the flight was nearly booked... weird.

I had a problem sleeping the night before my flight, not sure if it was the anticipation of finally leaving, the blue pixie stick I ate or the fact that I did a couple of puzzles in my mensa sudoku book? Probably a combination of all three. Nol was nice enough to wake me up at 7:30 on his way to work.

Josie was nice enough to pick me up at home and take me to the airport in the morning. I was a bit stressed because I had three pretty huge bags weighing in at 65 lbs, 50 lbs, and 45 lbs, a 30 lbs carry-on, a backpack and a collapsable cart.

We arrived about 2 1/2 hours before the flight and I was pretty shocked that there was no line at all at the ticket counter. The checkout experience was a polar-opposite to when I checked in at Air France... I'll admit that this was partially my fault because the last time I didn't check on their baggage policy's beforehand (which is super strict). But the people at Cathay Pacific were very friendly, I had to pay $89 for the extra bag and they didn't even charge me to check the collapsable luggage cart! They also have a very generous weight policy - 70 lbs per bag! They didn't weigh my carry-on like they did four years ago as well - so I had to sit at the checkout counter and re-arrange everything, that sucked.

I had the beef stew for lunch, it was pretty good, sorry Nol I forgot to take a picture of it.

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