August 20, 2005
1. Buy clean clothes for flights home.
2. Arrive early for flight from Chengdu to Beijing.
3. Delay flight 2 hours. Force me to check bag.
4. Have flight arrive in Beijing late but not so late that a connection is impossible.
5. Have airline lose bag that they forced me to check.
6. Find bag and run to opposite side of airport. Break into flop sweat.
7. Close ticket counter in front of me. Miss flight home to wife and child.
8. Offer a hotel for the night.
9. Make that hotel the China Aiport Garden Hotel located in the "Aiport Industrial Zone."
10. Put a "sanitized" paper strip over the toilet in said hotel. Open the toilet to find it not only not sanitized but freshly used and unflushed.
11. Have the only English language magazines in the lobby be: China Eastern Aviation Monthly, May edition, Cat Fancy (Christmas 2004 edition... especially hateful given my anti-cat status), and Military Miniature Collector (June 2005). All obviously detritus from previous lost souls.
12. Have the only restaurant around be Nurburg-King Coffee (offering neither burgers nor coffee).
13. Arrive back from Nurburg-King Coffee to find an Australian named Lazy Fred poking through my bags. "Just being a bit nosey mate, we're bunking up tonight. Let's get sloshed and tear this place up."
13.5 "Call me Fred. Call me Freddy. Call me Lazy, call me Lazy Fred. Ahh I don't give a fuck."
14. Lazy Fred's disregard for even basic bathroom etiquitte.
15. The fact that planes land so close to my hotel room I can see the passengers in the windows.
16. Dialup, windows 95.
17. Being on standby and having an awful feeling about tomorrow.
Note to others in a similar situation. If you need to jump to the top of the standby list:
1. Say your wife is pregnant.
2. Say your wife is due any minute.
3. Determine that the ticket lady has a thing for Koreans (note Korean pop star pictures in her cubicle).
4. Say your wife is a Korean actress.
5. List your wife's films: My Long Lost Sister, The Rich Cry Too, and Legend of Yun.
6. Get theatrically teary eyed.
7. Watch the ticket lady move you to the top of the list. "No problem, please say hello to your wife for me."