This adventure is nothing compared with M’Lynn crazy adventures with two kids. I never needed a lease and there wasn’t hokey-pokey in the bathroom, although getting into the airplane seat did require a little of the same.
In the states we’re told to arrive at least 3 hours before your international flight. In Harbin, if you arrive that early, you’ll be waiting for 1.5 hours before the ticket counter even opens. So when Jodi and I arrived, we stood in line for an hour waiting for the ticket counters to open. The wait provided an opportunity to eat lunch (peanut butter sandwiches).
Finally when the ticket counters opened, we were one of the first people through the doors. Immediately your bags are x-rayed. As I was loading my bags from the x-ray machine back to my cart, the guard came to me and asked to have a closer look at one of my bags. I found this all quite funny because the bag he chose to look through was empty! “Open the bag,” he asked politely. So I opened the bag to reveal another suitcase. “Umm, open that bag too.” He asked again. So I opened the second suitcase (also empty). I took the second suitcase out to reveal the third empty suitcase. “Do you want me to open that bag too?” I asked. “Uh, no that’s ok you can go.” So I put the empty suitcases back together and rolled to get my boarding pass never quite knowing why he asked to examine my bag.
On to wait for our flights. Yes two flights. We were both going to Seoul, both departing at 2:30 PM but we were on two different planes. Funny. Who gets to leave first? I imagined two planes barreling down the runway at the same time. We both boarded at the same time, the race to depart was on.
Seoul’s airport is great! Immediately I looked for food, found Kraze Burgers, and decided why not? 12000 for a burger meal! I don’t care what currency that’s in, 12000 is a lot of money! (About $12 USD) Since the burgers are cooking and I have some time, I decided to use the airport’s free wifi to check out Facebook.
Message from Jodi: “sooooooooooooo.... you definitely beat me to korea haha my flight was about an hour delayed because of "air traffic" haha.. i thought i'd try to find you at the starbucks right after the transfer stuff but no jeremy there.”
My response: “Eating at Kraze burgers”
Jodi: “hahahaha dude, i think i'm right next to you.. well.. a level down and not too far.. maybe i'll come by and say hello :)”
Who needs cell phones when we have an iPod, a netbook, free airport wifi, and Facebook? We met up again and chatted while I downed the burger and she waited for her flight out of Seoul. While I was first to leave Harbin, Jodi will be the first to arrive in the states. She arrives 24 hours before I get home! The first shall be last and the last shall be first!
If we haven’t said it already, everyone should travel through the Seoul airport. There’s a hotel in the airport. No more security checks!
The flight over the water was really not too bad. What does one do to pass the time when all alone on a 13 hour flight? First, take some Dramamine to make you sleepy, and then sleep. I really didn’t sleep much, just enough to remember track 6 on the CD and wake up at track 13. So all in all, maybe 30 minutes. Most of the other time was spent reading the new biography about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It’s a big book (well a big Kindle book) and takes more than one flight to finish.
Dallas has the longest, slowest immigration lines in the world. It takes a long time to get through all the check points. I’m glad they wanted me back in America. It was a little curious with the immigration official when he asks about my visit to Thailand. I said I went to a Christian conference for 2 weeks. His next question caught me off guard. “What faith are you?” I respond by saying I’m Christian and he asks the same question again. Guessing he wanted my denomination, I answered by saying it was inter denominational conference. I’ve lived in China so long, I’ve forgotten my denomination.
As I went through the security check one official joked about the line I chose receiving pat downs. “That’s great, that would be much faster.” I’ve always thought the pat downs in China spend up the security line. It takes so much time to removed belts, shoes, and jackets that I would rather get patted down.
Next up, a lines of my choice. Fuddruckers burgers. Awesome. Now waiting at DFW for the next puddle jumper flight home. It’s so strange to go from the double decker jumbo jet 747 to a little bitty regional jet. So small.
Home sweet home. All the meals I’ve eaten at home have come fresh off the grill.