The last time I tried to dig my way to China, I was four.
Shovel in hand, I renounced my family, marched into the backyard and started digging.
I dug until my parents distracted me.
They told me that the next episode of Zorro was on TV, thus putting my travel plans on hold.
That instance, marks the only time I have ever tried to go to China…. on purpose.
Twenty-five short years later, I found myself on a China Southern A380 Airbus, scheduled to lay over in Guangzhou, China.
While taxiing on the LAX tarmac, I sang my own highly annoying, out of pitch version of “In the arms of an angel” to my girlfriend, Lolo.
As I crescendo to the chorus, the PA system unceremoniously interrupts me with squawking Chinese.
In unison, the Chinese-speaking passengers in sardine class unbuckle their seat belts.
A voice translates “We have minor technical with engine.”
I am infuriated for three reasons.
1. I know that we will miss our connecting flight in Guangzhou.
2. How on earth did they find an issue with the engine 15 seconds before take off. What kind cheap-jack of operation is this?
3. Are we going to be the next Asiana Flight 214 meme?
Turns out that flying on Google flight’s cheapest airline has it’s decided drawbacks.
Two hours later, and a great deal of muffled cursing on my part, the Rolls Royce engines are fixed (allegedly) and we start our trek across the Pacific.
A strong tailwind brought us into Guangzhou as scheduled, leaving only thirty minutes to connect. Enough time to get on our connecting flight.
My girlfriend and I grab our carry-on, rush up the boarding ramp, turn a couple corners and find ourselves in line with at least a thousand other passengers.
It appeared to be some kind of communist/make-work/we check your passport and boarding pass line.
If we get into this line, we will miss our flight.
I notice a security guard’s back is turned, dip underneath the velvet ropes, Lolo in tow, and gain access to Business-First Class queue.
I tell Lolo conspiratorially to follow my lead, and plan to explain that we were upgraded mid-flight to first class.
“There must’ve been some kind of terrible misunderstanding.” I practice in my head, preparing for my eventual interrogation.
The communist/make-work/we check your passport and boarding pass lady didn’t notice our Coach stamp.
She checked our boarding pass and shoed us away.
We made our flight to Singapore and arrived in Singapore four hours later.
Unfortunately, our luggage wasn’t so lucky.
Teaching us the old “If you have a connecting flight, carry-on all your bags lesson.”
We made it through Singaporean customs with no luggage.
A short taxi cab later, we checked into my favorite hotel in the world, The Swissotel Stamford.
Thanks to a sweet Expedia deal, we stayed at The Stamford for less than it costs me to see my General Physician.
It was really great getting to share the experience with my girlfriend. This is the first time I have traveled outside the country with anyone, let alone Lolo. She was a total trooper and powered through the jet lag to explore the city with me.
By the time we ate Beer Chilli at Brewerkz and took the elevator to the top of the Marina Bay Sands, our lost luggage arrived. After that we slept like we had drank out of the fountain of Bill Cosby.