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Published: August 30th 2017
Geo: 31.23, 121.47
Things rarely go to plan and as if to reinforce this adage our plans on getting to Shanghai were nothing like the reality.
We got to the airport on time, booked ourselves in and that was when our months of planning running parallel to our reality ceased.
At the airport We go to the customs counter and were informed we all needed to fill out a departure card, why the 2 people standing at the entrance to the customs area don't inform you of this before you get near the counter is beyond me but it probably has something to do with how important their conversation was because it appeared nothing or nobody was going to interfere with that.
So we head out to the back of the room to the naughty counter where all those not in the know are sent to serve penance and fill in the obligatory card. We did this relatively quickly and then made our way back to the counter where the customs officer asked rather politely " why do you have 3 passports ? " Jana and I swap puzzled glances because since Aadi came along we are now 3 , and said this to the lady, she looked back at us rather perplexed and looked from me to Jana and back again several times with an expression that said 'I don't do jokes' then it dawned on us , the lady behind the counter couldn't see Aadi who was strapped to Jana's back, Jana swung around to reveal the grinning face of our little girl, we all had a giggle and with a sigh of relief moved on through.
We waited for our flight in the departure lounge, I'm not sure why they called it a " lounge" it's about as close to a lounge as VW is to a Porsche, but regardless we waited with the rest of the poor sods who were attempting to pass the time before being herded onto the plane. Aadi amused herself by stealth-fully outmanoeuvring the unwanted attentions of a small child of her age who had been made less agile by the added rolls of "baby fat" he had been blessed with.
While we swapped polite smiles with other passengers.
We waited and waited, we boarded at least half an hour or more late, by that stage I'd stopped checking the time to avoid disappointment but it didn't work.
Then once on the plane we waited some more , finally we taxied backwards a small distance and then stopped,
After a few minutes the pilot made an announcement that basically said,
'sorry for the delay folks but we are having trouble starting the engines and we are just waiting for somebody to give us a jump start' , those weren't his words but that's what he meant, I nearly got up , grabbed a bunch of the equally frustrated travellers and offered to give him a push start ,but in the distance I could see the guys , our rescuers, hurtling along the tarmac in their their truck with a oversized battery on the back brandishing supersonic sized jumper leads.
I'm sure it was actually a bit more complicated than that but by this stage I was delirious from hunger , my brain felt like it had shrunk to the size of a pea due to dehydration and I was bored out of my mind and had resorted to taking my amusement where ever I could find it , even if it was in my imagination.
But a truck did come and they did get the engines started, eventually.
We sat on the plane for an extra hour and a half and at he start of the journey that didn't seem like to long, you could strike up conversations and get to know those who you would be in close proximity to for the next 10 hours.
As the flight grew closer to its end those people who seemed so endearing earlier in the day were now annoying you by the way they just sat there and breathed even the fact that they breathed at all was annoying.
Stuck in a confined space for a long period of time with a bunch of people you don't choose to be near is probably as close to hell as I think is possible.
But we all endured an accepted our fate because we all knew that this flight was doing one of two things for those aboard, it was either taking you on an adventure of huge proportions to a fabled exotic land or by the look of most of the passengers it was taking you home, home to see the family or or home after being away.
We all made it through without throwing things at each other or anyone going mad with a set of sharpened chop sticks.
None of us could get off the plane quick enough.
We had landed so jana and I discussed our plan, the plan was, Jana and I would change some travellers cheques and catch a taxi to our preboocked room, get Aadi to bed and relax,
It was an easy plan, or so we thought.
After we pass customs and boarder control Jana says to me that the address and instruction on how we get to we're we are staying is in the plastic sleeve with the itinerary , I say great where is that, Jana replies " isn't it in the bag? ", I already know it's not and say to Jana with raised eyebrows "it's not in the bag" Jana's shoulders slump as she realises we have misplaced the plastic sleeve with copies of all our document In it , a list of our preferred activities and confirmation and addresses from the hostels that we have booked in advance ,
Jana looks at me and says "I'm so sorry, I must have put it down somewhere"
I reply "that's no big deal lets just change some travellers cheques and get on our way."
I turn to Jana and say "oh by the way where are the travellers cheques? "
Jana's eyes widen, all the colour drains from her face and with a look of absolute horror she says to me " oh my god they are with all the other documents".
Welcome to Shanghai
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