A Very Long Trip Home

 

This morning I arrived home from what has probably been my worst travel experience, up to date. It wasn’t the destination that made it bad. It was the delays I experienced on the way home, that have left me feeling the way I do today. My flight was scheduled to leave Manila, Philippines at 6:30 am a couple of days ago. It was delayed due to some less than desirable¬†weather. A tropical storm hit the Philippines just about the same time I was supposed to flying out, and of course my flight was delayed.

After calling the airline, I was informed that my flight had been rescheduled for 3:55 that afternoon. I showed up to the airport around 1:00 pm to check in. After saying good-bye to my family members that had driven me to the airport, I waited to board my flight. Then I waited some more… And then I waited some more. The flight finally started boarding around 6:30 pm – over 2 hours later than what I was told.
By this time, my connecting flight to New York City, out of Beijing, China, was long gone – it was scheduled for 1:30 pm earlier that day. I didn’t arrive in Beijing until about 1:30 am. The airline provided me with a hotel room for the night, well, half a hotel room. I had to share a room with one of the other passengers that also missed a connecting flight. That wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t terrible. I was able to take a shower and get some food, but I didn’t get any sleep.

Beijing - hotel lobby

Beijing, China – checking into the hotel

I didn’t get checked into the hotel until about 4:00 am. It had taken that long for me to get through China’s immigration and catch a bus to the hotel. I checked out at 10:00 am to check into my flight scheduled for 1:00 pm – a day later than I was originally supposed to fly out. This plane didn’t take off until 2:30 pm, which seems to be on par with what I had been experiencing with this airline.
It took about 12 hours to get to New York City. After getting through US immigration, I grabbed a cab to Chinatown and was just in time to catch the bus back to Virginia – another 7 hours of travel. I had barely made it in time – the bus had pulled into the station as I was buying my ticket.


I finally arrived in Virginia at around 1:30 am this morning. It was a good feeling to finally be home, but the travel ordeal has take it’s toll on me. Besides being extremely tired, my body was sore. My tailbone ached from sitting for such a long time, my back ached, I’ve got a sore throat, and my nose was beginning to run.
I’m glad to be home. It will take me a few days to get over the jet lag. And before I actually lay down and sleep, I’m going out for hot soup and a sandwich.

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