Silvercat - 9/6/2007 7:55 PM ET
Well done, Ione! :)
THE TRIP HOME
We got up early and had breakfast at the hotel. Then we picked up a cab at the hotel. It was another black one. The clerk at the hotel said the cab should cost us one hundred Yuan to get to the airport. The cab driver asked us for the piece of paper the hotel gave us with his cab number on it. They give that for riders to use if there is any complaint about the driver. Dave handed it over to him. I thought it was a bad idea to give him that but didnít say anything. He then told us it would cost us one hundred fifty Yuan to get to the airport. We didnít object, we were leaving and had to get there somehow and soon. Then he asked for two hundred Yuan. I said no and he accepted that. Then he started joking with Dave about his weight. In China people just donít get fat. Dave took it good-naturedly and mentioned how I was too good a cook. The conversation was a mixture of gestures and broken English like most of our conversations were if we were lucky enough to find someone who speaks English.
When we got to the airport we werenít sure where to go and immediately a nice Chinese girl took us under her wing. She had another girl with her. They told us we were too early and said they would take us to a place to wait. I got a little apprehensive when she took us on an empty elevator. She took us downstairs to a waiting area with plenty of seats and told us to wait there for two hours and then go upstairs to board our plane. There were plenty of other people waiting there so I knew we were safe. She sat down beside us and so did her friend. Then she said, ďI helped you. Can you give me money?Ē I gave her twenty Yuan and then she asked if I could give her friend some. I gave her friend twenty Yuan also. I really didnít mind. This is how she probably made her living and twenty Yuan is very little in dollars but probably met a lot to them, same with the cab driver. Fifty extra Yuan probably met a lot to him also. These people are doing their best to scratch out a living.
We waited the two hours before going upstairs to board our plane. When we checked our luggage we were told that we had one too many suitcases. It would cost us an extra hundred dollars to check our luggage. It was the extra box we had with our souvenirs.
I asked if I could take my purple suitcase as a carry on and they said yes. I had two smaller suitcases for my luggage. I knew that one of them had Daveís two bottles of saki that Irisís uncle had given him. I also knew that we werenít supposed to take alcohol in our carry on. When we got to the security they asked me to open my purple suitcase and sure enough there was Daveís saki. The young women doing security were very polite to me about it and my attitude was sa la vie. They said we could come back within three days to claim it and I said no we would not be coming back that soon. ďGive it to your boyfriends.Ē I joked. Dave didnít seem to think it was so funny.
We boarded our plane for the two-hour flight to go to Shanghi. I knew we would have to collect our luggage and wait for a couple of hours for our flight to Chicago. At least this time I knew what to expect. I was really tired and couldnít wait to get on the long flight to Chicago and sit for a while.
I slept most of the way home. I wasnít felling well. I remember telling Dave that when I got home I was going to stay in bed watching TV until the next day.
When we got to Chicago it was a short wait for our plane home and a very short ride over Lake Michigan. When I got off the plane according to the clock and calendar it was the same day. The sun was setting and looking up at the pale blue sky I saw the crescent moon and a lone star. It was a beautiful sight indeed.
Tips from a weary traveler:
Donít get upset about the hassles at the airport
Donít worry about spending a few extra Yuan
Home is truly beautiful
Epilogue to follow
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