Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Trip to China

Diane and I left home yesterday afternoon late for Jackson airport, and made it all the way to Carthage, Ms before stopping at a Walmart. 

We stayed at the Ramada in Pearl, Ms Sunday Night.  I learned something on this trip which I should have learned long ago, that is that you can stay at a motel and have them keep your vehicle for $10.00.  That amount plus the room cost is less than parking your vehicle in long term parking, and they will deliver you to the door of the terminal and pick you up from same.  Wow!  Where has that been my whole life?

After taking the motel shuttle to the airport, we had the exciting experience of dealing with the technology challenged, yet highly advanced check in at the United counter in Jackson.   Not sure why counter attendants are needed anymore, except that one continually needs the counter attendant to come swipe a card, apparently having a valid passport and paid up electronic ticket is not enough. :-)

Learned that we could have packed more, but would have needed another day of preparation to determine which twelve additional pounds should have been added.  Diane's profound relief  at discovering our baggage was not over weight was promptly allayed, as she thought of everything she had regrettably left behind, especially her boots when she discovered it is currently snowing in Yanji.

The security check in went well.  However, I must remember in the future to avoid bringing a pocket full of change.  I learned long ago to wear shoes with velcro rather than boots.

We have met an interesting mix of folks in this trip already.  An oil company employee who lives in Vietnam, but works in Russia from Mississippi. The eleventh grade daughter of a pilot trying to get back home without missing another day of school. She is flying standby and oil company employee flies first class.

Arrived in Houston on time and had a filling breakfast, then learned that the flight from Houston to San Francisco had been delayed beyond the time for the departure from San Francisco. Oh well, we might get to go to "Fisherman's Wharf." There is only one flight from San Francisco to Beijing daily apparently. 

I had planned to make a couple of extra stops on this trip, but time and finances prevented that, so perhaps we'll have an extra stop there in the city by the bay.

We arrived in San Francisco at 2:40 PM. Our flight to China was scheduled to leave at 2:50. The flight attendants could not help us get the gate assignment for our trip, but told us a United Airlines Customer Service rep would meet us at the counter when we disembarked from the aircraft. No one was there to assist us and consequently we were unable to locate our gate before the plane left the gate. It could have been frustrating, but we know that God always has a plan in what He does, and while we might not see it for a while we can be confident that we will eventually understand.

We still feel that United's negligence is responsible for the miscue, and we're going to press the issue with them to see if they'll reimburse the cost of the room. They did give us meal vouchers and we purchased some great sandwiches with the vouchers.

Later this evening we traveled to Fisherman's Wharf and enjoyed taking in some of the sights until the rain sent us scurrying back to the motel.

I would be remiss should I neglect to regale you with the exploits of our taxi driver. A baseball enthusiast, and exuberant fan of the San Francisco Giants, he attempted to educate us on

The trip back to the motel was also quite an adventure. The cable cars are not very well marked and one must know where he is going in order to use them. The driver kept saying that he would announce when we arrived at Union Station but none of us could understand what he was saying. He seemed somewhat exasperated by the passengers' continual inquiries. Several of us decided that colleges should teach a course in San Franciscese, since what he was speaking bore little resemblance to English.

At Union Station we boarded the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) and returned to the airport where we caught the shuttle back to the motel.

The BART is basically a subway, but again one could ride for ever without help because the stops are poorly marked & the drivers do not speak clearly. But the trains are clean and fairly comfortable.

Resting in the knowledge that our Father is orchestrating events for His glory, we anxiously await the purpose behind this diversion, and are carefully alert lest me miss a great opportunity.

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