Edit Blog Post
Published: September 25th 2012
Clark and Georgie and Mum kindly brought us to the airport in Portland after lunch at Skipper's in Saco. We turned down the offer of a Chinese buffet at this point. The airport was basically empty - one of the great features of flying from Maine! There were 2 people in the security line ahead of us.
Our first leg to Detroit left on time about 4:30 p.m., and leaving from Portland we could see Saco Bay, followed by Lake Winnepesaukee (Moultonborough, Center Harbor, and Meredith) and White River Junction and Dartmouth. It briefly entered my mind to wonder if this was the proverbial "life flashing before my eyes," but it was definitely a pleasant experience. Patches of red announced the beginning of fall.
Soon we were in Detroit for a three-hour layover. For our last U.S. meal we chose...peanut butter sandwiches at PB&J's. What could be more American than that? Pretty yummy, too, especially Wayne's special: PB, grape jelly and bacon on cinnamon swirl bread.
At 9:50 p.m. we entered the twilight zone, or rather the midnight zone, boarding the Delta flight that would keep us in the dark of night for the next 14 hours as we chased the sun west across northern Canada, Alaska and Russia. I wish we could have seen the landscape, but except for the occasional lighted outpost, all was very black. In fact we experienced a 23-hour night, since we arrived in Beijing at midnight and still had many hours until sunrise the next morning.
The flight itself passed in a blur of movies and naps in positions that were never intended for sleeping. We were very fortunate to have an extra seat beside us, and Wayne, ever solicitous, let me try to "lie down" on the two seats that he wasn't occupying. It would have been good practice to be a magician's assistant squeezing into the trunk where one is sawn in two, and I think I have the impression of a seatbelt buckle permanently branded into my hip, but we both managed to drift off a few times. The cabin was darkened for about 8 hours, and in my hazy recollections of creeping down the aisle to the restroom, I see what looked like rows of unconscious Buddhist monks, but, no, it was just all of the passengers wrapped in their Delta-issued saffron-colored blankets
Here on the plane we first experienced being "foreigners." As Caucasian English- speakers we were in the minority. Come to think of it, I noticed only one other white person, a man wearing a Kennebunkport t-shirt - most incongruous!
Hooray for personal TVs on international flights! We had our choice of about 150(?) movies, and together we watched Brave and Johnny English Reborn. The latter was most enjoyable, since we were in a silly mood. Wayne also watched The Artist, and I saw New Year's Eve (meh). Then (at about 9 a.m. at home, 9 p.m. Beijing time) it was time for our "dinner" of Orange Chicken, rice, fruit salad, and 2 bites of spinach. Finally, the lights of Beijing came into view, and we landed right on time.
No problems going through immigration and customs, and as we emerged from Neverland, we saw a compact man with an "Overseas Adventure Travel" sign. We followed him and shared his van with John and Susie from St, Augustine. Then to the Beijing Phoenix Hotel, about an hour's drive away - does this city go on for ever? Nice room with most-welcome hard beds, which we fell into at 1 a.m. (1 p.m. at home, but our clocks are already most confused).
Tot: 0.058s; Tpl: 0.014s; cc: 12; qc: 48; dbt: 0.012s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb