How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE

Are We There Yet?

71 Comments


The Flight

I had no preconceived notions regarding the long trip ahead. The Malaysian disappearance, still fresh in the news, I refused to ponder the distance, time, or mystery of sufficient fuel to complete such a long flight. No point in dwelling on what I couldn’t control. I refused to mull over anything—numerous times. Had I allowed my apprehension to take hold, I might have never taken the wild limo ride to the airport.

We boarded a United Airlines Boeing 777 (I think), Flight 851, non-stop as in direct to Beijing. My seat: 41E in Economy (center aisle, middle seat). Sue asleep, I begged the guy on my right to allow exit for a bathroom break and for strolling to keep my blood moving. When both he and Sue snoozed, I climbed over Sue. I watched three or four complete movies (whose titles escape me), began others but lost interest, and read to pass the time. I could not sleep. I’m the type that needs to stay awake to make sure everything is copasetic. The sandman peppered grit into my eyes. Eye drops helped but. not enough.

United_787_800_RR

We had two babies or pre-toddlers who fussed little for which I am grateful. How the mothers managed is beyond me. The couple in the seats on Sue’s aisle side was difficult to ignore. By their appearance and attire, we guessed they were Amish or Mennonite. One seat was empty, which afforded the wife to lie across the seats her head in her husband’s lap. She had the nastiest head cold and coughed and sneezed the whole way. It’s a wonder her ears weren’t plugged for how could she fly?

Smushed in the middle seat, I juggled my purse, the offered pillow and blanket, a light jacket (it got cold off and on), my book and/or my iPad, I had little room to manoeuvre. Arms tucked in close to my body, I realized why sardines don’t have elbows either. I’d worn full body compression wear beneath my yoga pants and top as a precaution again swelling. My feet sweat in my running shoes, though. Had I been born double-jointed, it might have been easier to untie them.

Microsoft Clipart

Microsoft Clipart

As the engines roared, I crammed the pictures and stories from the movies into every corner of my brain to restrict anxious thoughts. The fellow on my right watched our flight progress on the screen instead of movies. I noticed our flight path headed upwards to Alaska instead of due east and assumed we were lost. My seatmate noticed my near-panic and explained, but what I heard was garbled. My brain refused to process the information. I believe he said something about gulf-stream.

We’d eaten three meals and downed countless glasses of water. An hour or two before Beijing, I speculated the water tank (rain barrel?) must have ran low for the water tasted swampy. I cut myself off. It stuck in my throat. Yuck.

Thirteen hours and 35 minutes elapsed. Beijing airport materialized at last and our imminent descent announced. All window shades were thrown up with enthusiasm but no-one clapped on landing. I wanted to applaud and then kiss the ground. The time difference threw me. I hadn’t expected daylight although I knew we were to land at 3:40 p.m.

Has our luggage made it from Toronto?

Has our luggage made it from Toronto?

We deplaned with the couple we’d met in Chicago, Russ and Bonnie from Wasaga Beach. Russ, who had memorized the layout of the humongous airport, helped us find the baggage claim. Shortly afterward, we met Jim and Carolyn from Ottawa. Our tour guide, Robert,  holding a sign: English 8, awaited us. Ernesto and Lorena from Mexico arrived a half-hour later. Sue and I made eight. By 4:30, we headed to our hotel by tour bus.

I hadn’t slept a wink. Hours without sleep: 44

* * *

Next on  January 13th: Beijing at Last

©Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles 2017

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014.

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Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

71 thoughts on “Are We There Yet?

  1. I got exhausted just reading your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. Sleeplessness is a debilitating thing. BTW, I like your banner photo. It’s great!

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  3. Hi Tess. Re untying the shoes all I can say is thank goodness for Velcro! Mega hugs.

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  4. Happy New Year Teresa! That’s a seriously long flight. The longest I’ve ever been on was from Pittsburgh to London, this was before British Airways flew direct out of Pittsburgh. Anyway it was a thirteen hour trip but we went by Ontario where we had a layover before proceeding to London. Going wasn’t so bad because I eventually fell asleep but coming back seemed to take forever. As I was reading this I had to chuckle at you use of copasetic (it’s one of my favorite words). If I ever have to a flight as long as yours I’d have to have a sleeping pill or two. Have fun in Beijing.

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    • Thanks so much for reading. I’m not writing in real time. This trip happened in 2014 and I’m reblogging the best parts. 🙂 Hope you continue to enjoy. It was the trip of a lifetime. We were going 12 hours a day for 22 days not including the day to fly there and another to return home.
      My longest flight before this was about five hours and not for over 20 years. When I jump into something, I go hog wild. o_O

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I sympathize with you completely. Traveling by jet over any of the oceans can be introverted torcher. I love going overseas, but that one flight is hard to bear.

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  6. Fantastic Tess.. definitely along for the ride again.. I have shared but also put in tomorrow’s blogger daily.. love and hugs xx

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  7. I’m like you. I find it hard to sleep on an airplane. Don’t know why. Maybe you have the answer. Just want to make sure the stupid thing doesn’t fall from the sky.

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  8. Thirteen hours in a middle seat! Yikes. No wonder I don’t travel.

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  9. Oh Tess, I feel you pain. I am so envious of those people who can sleep on a plane. Although I usually nod off on those overnight or long flights, I am usually awoken by my head snapping forward within the hour!

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  10. Glad you were not flying today.

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  11. Makes me want to stay home. 😉

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  12. I know just how you feel – no matter where you’re sitting, you have to stay awake to help drive the car or plane or boat. Me too. Laughing about the elbows – if I didn’t have any, I wouldn’t have dislocated mine in September. But it does help if you have a middle seat on a plane – the seating is certainly not made to include elbows. That’s a lot of plane flight you endured – You must have crashed as soon as your body found a bed.

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    • I confess the worst part of the whole adventure was being cramped. At a certain age that become a huge problem. Thank goodness I worked around it and it wasn’t a problem till a couple years later. Still, you wonder is seniors have strokes or heart attacks, who’s going to step up? Being cramped like this is not good for a body especially a well used one. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Our longest journey was the London to China and back six weeks later. For the last week in China I had nightmares about the flight. I could feel your pain, Tess..

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    • Ouch. I was lucky in my ignorance, Judith. Not having traveled in many, many years and only expecting long line-ups at the airport, I didn’t think much about the details of getting there. o_O Might have been the lack of sleep. Not sure but I’m a believer in ignorance is bliss. 😀 😛

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  14. Oh shame, Tess. I also hate plane travel. We flew to New Zealand last year from South Africa. 14 hours with a 2 hour stop over and then another 4 hours to NZ. We travelled with two boys, one of which is scared of flying and one of which is a chronic asthmatic, and the in-flight entertainment packed up and wouldn’t come back on. Our flight attendant took a bad tumble over someone’s handbag and was out of commission for the rest of the flight. That left our section with only one. It was memorable to say the very least.

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    • Wow. I feel for you especially traveling with two boys on such a long trip. I had no concept of time when we booked this trip. I figured sleep + movies + reading + scribbling ought to fill the time. I hadn’t considered actual itme. 😛 I don’t think. O_o

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  15. I can sleep on long flights, but I don’t like to miss anything out of the window in daylight or I get mesmerised by the flight tracker in the dark. Plus I worry I might snore!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m not a comfortable flyer at the best of times and would find long haul a trial :-/ It’s great going along vicariously though ;-D

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    • Ha ha. If you only knew how much I depended on my well-traveled friend. I had no experience traveling for many, many years. It helped I had no concept–though I had knowledge–of details of the trip. As far as sleep, I can’t sleep on long car trips either. Have to keep an eye on things: the driver and the cars around us. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • It certainly helps having someone with you who’s used to travelling. The furthest I’ve been is New York and the friend I went with is a seasoned traveller. All the better for me 😉

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  17. My favourite line – I realized why sardines don’t have elbows – Priceless!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I was about to say the same as Andrew….those sardine elbows made me pause.☺☺☺ Looking forward to this journey, thanks for the re-blog. Being on a plane that long….has kept me from a few adventures, especially to Australia for a family wedding. Ugh.

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    • It pays to be uninformed as I WAS. Details are something I over analyze. Having given up on travel for over 20 years, I only knew about airport lineups. Nothing else sunk in.
      The cramped sitting is getting worse from what I’ve been reading lately. The older you get, this is not a good thing. I DO like the sense of adventure and new discoveries. Not so sure about getting them the way the airlines are squeezing in more seats. Our older generation may not do well in these circumstances.What will it take for more legroom, for instance.:-) How much? I’ll walk, thanks. 😀 😀 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I am terrified of flying so to have 13 hours on a plane would be horrendous for me, to say the least!
    I love your narration, and am looking forward to the rest of the trip! 🙂

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  20. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily Saturday 7th January | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  21. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily Saturday 7th January – The God Pan, China, Dogs, Book Design | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  22. The jet lag on those long flights is something else, but I’m a pilot and actually enjoy the flights themselves. 🙂

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    • OOoooo. A pilot. I knew one once who flew to Montreal daily till he had to retire. Then he took a job in Belgium because he could no matter his age I suppose (have no idea about, though).
      How often do you fly (take a lot out of you?) and do you FEEL you are well rested? I wouldn’t want the job myself because it’s such a mystery to me–all clouds and no signage. Bless you for dropping in and reading.
      I slept Wednesday night to Thursday. Out limo arrived Friday morning at 3:00 a.m. I didn’t dare sleep in case I missed the call. Didn’t sleep again till Saturday evening after supper in Beijing. Up at 6:30 or 7:00 for breakfast and first tour began Sunday morning at 9:00. We had no time to think of anything but moving for 12 hours a day. Thank goodness I’m a scribbler because it would have ALL been lost on me. What a waste that would have been. 🙂

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      • Thank you. 🙂

        Yes, there are strict rules around retirement. There are additional flight crew on very long flights. One sleeps, the other flies.

        It sounds like you had a great trip despite the lack of sleep at the beginning. Thanks for sharing it with us. 🙂

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  23. Great post! I wonder if, in retrospect, the horrors of the flight have faded from your mind, replaced as they were by the wonders there.

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  24. Worthy reblog series Tess. You and I would be good company flying, I don’t sleep on planes. In fact, I’m guessing I may have said that on the original post, lol. 🙂 ❤

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    • I’m the same in a car when I’m not the driver. I have to know every little thing going on. Having given up on traveling, I amazed ME how fast I jumped at this opportunity. Of course, price had a lot to do with it. I’ve been spoiled since because no one has had anything in comparison value-wise. All inclusive, flights, food, accomodations for 24 days. Unbelievable. Years ago, the cost had been double+. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I missed this first time around – didn’t ‘know’ you then so am glad to have the chance to read it now. Sally always raves about your China trip!

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    • Thank you. Sally is a generous soul. I thank her for her generous sharing.
      This was a trip like no other because I had decided for over 20 years traveling wasn’t on my agenda. This trip fell in our laps (a girlfriend and mine) and wouldn’t you know I go from famine to feast (true story of my life).The biggest draw was the unbelievable [price for 24 days, all inclusive).This trip spoiled us for others price-wise.
      I hope you enjoy it though you’re not exactly a wallflower when it comes to travel. Your travels have involved living among the people. We only saw what the governmentalloweed us to see but still the tour was amazing. ❤

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  26. 44 hours without sleep but oh the feeling of arriving at that destination. You’re doing a lot of interesting travel. 🙂

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    • Exactly. No point in worrying about anything but taking in ‘everything.’ That’s probably what kept me going. Everything was new and exciting and the days were usually 12-hours.Had I planned to post in real time, it would have been impossible. As soon as we arrived at the hotel by end of day, the only thought was s.l.e.e.p. 😀

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    • True, true and true again. Ignorance is bliss and I knew the rigamarole but only in my head. It didn’t compute YET. 🙂

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  27. I love how you describe everything! I have yet to fly that far and long, and although I wouldn’t be as anxious (I love flying), I would NOT be able to sleep either. My hubby has flown all over the world and of course can sleep like a rock, and at a moment’s notice. Hope you eventually got some rest!

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  28. 44 hours without sleep?!?! Wow! I hope you got some extra make-up sleep before starting your next adventure, Tess.

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    • The total was more. I woke Thursday morning and had a regular day, except for last minute packing. The airport limo arrived 3:00 a.m. Friday morning. Of course, I didn’t trust myself to sleep. Onward to Toronto airport, then Chicago. Wasted almost 6 hours. The final flight to Beijing. Dinner their time at 6:00 or 6:30 pm. Face-plant into bed after dinner. Morning breakfast early and on the bus at 9:00 a.m. Cross-eyed? Yes, but so much to see and we kept moving. Had we stopped I probably would have slept standing up. 😀

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    • I woke up Thursday morning at home and didn’t sleep till Beijing time around 7:00 pm or so Saturday night–added hours to sleeplessness. After face planting on my first opportunity, it was auto-pilot for 22 more days.

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  29. Tiring and exhausting long flight. I’m not usually scared of flights, but if I’m not minimally comfortable I can’t fly. I remember a flight back from the US to the UK where I felt like a sardine, stuck between two people who spread onto my space. I hope you got some sleep soon, Tess.

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  30. now the middle seat has to be up there with emergency dental work and the Jehovahs knocking on the front door for triggering a mix of anxiety and moist depression (a bit like climbing into a personalised cloud); Glad you survived the 44 hours; oddly, having done many long haul flights (London to NZ being 12 and 12.5 with a two hours refuel in Singapore the longest) I have gotten quite good at the eat-sleep-pray mix you need to survive. Though given my obsession with re-hydrating on long flights I fear unbalancing the aircraft as i personally fill one chemical toilet at the rear. Here’s to more fun and games.

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  31. Tess…what? No sleep for 44 hours! You must have been running on adrenaline! I got exhausted sitting in that middle seat with you, and having to make sure everything was okay! Phew! Looking forward to your Beijing adventure! Happy New Year! 💛 Christine

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    • More, but at this point, I roughly figure that many. I slept Thursday night but not Friday because the airport limo came a 3:00 A.M. (worried about sleeping past the doorbell). Sleep came around 7:00 pm or so Beijing time Saturday when I face-planted on the bed till 7:00 in the morning for breakfast and our first bus tour by 9:00 a.m. 😀 ❤

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    • Hi. Hi. Hi. Christine.The sleep deprivation never left till I arrived home 24 days later (that was another story). But… I have to say but, because my girlfriend and I lucked out on this unbelievable ‘all inclusive’ price. It will make your head spin and for 24 days! A number of year previous, people paid twice as much for a shorter tour. Yes, it must be subsidized but hey, who doesn’t like a bargain and a good time? 🙂

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  32. Sounds like this is going to be a great trip. The flying part of course can be daunting but the rewards make up for it. I can’t wait to read the next part. Well done. If you ever go on a long flight again you might like to try purchasing a slipper with a sole, they sell them now. It will leave room for expansion and are comfortable. :o)

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