I thought I’d revisit the China posts. Some of you haven’t seen them. Enjoy.
Warning: This is longer than my usual posts. Also Note: Newbie person traveling. Some of this may be old hat to you.
We didn’t need to worry about our luggage as it flew ahead direct from Toronto to Beijing. What a blessing, yet this causes me discomfort not knowing exactly where it might be. A whole string of what ifs torment me anyway. The most nagging: what if my luggage goes to the wrong destination? Pul-eese. It’ll be fine. I’d packed two changes of clothing in my carry-on thanks to advice from my blogging friends.
It turns out we’re a long way from the main building and a shuttle arrives as we land in Chicago. We jumped aboard in a fine spring mist, hoping for delivery to the correct terminal. We then jogged in the now drizzle to the entrance. First stop a washroom.
What is this? I feel like a country mouse. The toilet had unusual self-sanitizing seats. Think ultra-soft (memory foam). This video shows better than I can explain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cokBht49qt8
Only five hours and 45 minutes to kill.
Now, what? We saw Starbucks and MacDonalds; a kind of deli; various health food shops; tons of neck pillows and sunglasses; books and magazines, and a bar or two. Maybe we should have considered sampling our way through the food shops to keep busy.
25 Ways to Kill Time in the Chicago Airport:
- Walk, limp, stumble. keep moving.
- Learn to avoid lineups around boarding and arrivals gates on both sides of the building.
- Dodge weary travelers more concerned about their wheelies than who’s in front or behind them.
- Gape at the zillions of people (I don’t get out enough), from all parts of the world, who arrive and depart in giant waves like schools of fish—big ones— with luggage
- Close your mouth time and again and do your best not to stick out as if you’d just left the cabbage patch. Isn’t the world a big and confusing place?
- Make a deposit at each washroom you wander past. When the opportunity presents itself, you might as well grab it. Best keep your tank empty.
- Hang around the unusual new-fangled toilets. What will they think of next? (refer to Youtube video). I wondered how often the plastic covers were replaced and asked an attendant, but she didn’t know either.
- Stand in long lines to buy food/water even though not hungry
- Fight the crowd to buy coffee.
- Search for an empty table to rest aching feet. Why were all the tables occupied? Pull out my now soggy pizza out of your carry-on.
- Take pictures of a plane through a restaurant window, not exactly proof you’re in Chicago but what the heck.
- After tiring yourself out walking around the gargantuan airport, sit and try to read or people watch.
- Comb the gift shops for a Chicago fridge magnets but don’t buy one. They were too expensive at $5.99 each (U.S. dollars of course) and tiny—the width of two of today’s postage stamps.
- Check the screen for your gate early. Why is the waiting area full already. Lucky to find a seat each.
- Count tall people / short people. If they keep shifting up and down. start over and give up.
- Survey couples in boarding area to guess which ones might be going to Beijing. (Sue spied a couple from our Toronto flight).
- Without hesitation, strike up a conversation and ask if they are on your tour. knows how to peg them. They are going our way.
- Stare at the time in two-minute intervals, which doesn’t move it any faster. One hour and 25 minutes to boarding.
- Notice a planeload of pilots attached to wheelie carry-ons, who mill about purchasing food. Have you seen so many at once? Why are they hungry? Are they arrivals or departures?
- Gawk and wonder how all these pilots happen to be so good looking, but much more important, fret if they are indeed old enough for the job? Most look around fifteen.
- Shift and re-shift from one numb butt cheek to the other and blink faster than a turn signal to stay awake. Eyes too dry to read? You wuss. You’ve only been awake 29 hours. Fifteen and a little bit to go.
- Evade running and screaming children
- Stew over whose toddler is wandering around alone. Not your responsibility, but where are the parents? You want to know, don’t you? Where ARE they? No one’s paying attention to the little guy. Nobody.
- Line up as directed with visa and boarding pass to get the visa to China stamped. This takes five minutes. One hour and 15 minutes to go
- Spy a female pilot. Wow! She looks about 40, old enough and experienced compared to the fifteen-year-old male pilots. You could trust her but where’s her crew?
The clock clicks one mouse whisker at a time. Time’s up. Boarding is announced by a distorted male voice. Not unlike unconscious sleepwalkers, you funnel into lines and shuffle forward, necessary papers clutched and eyes begging for toothpicks.
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Next on December 23rd – A Pause for Thanks and Christmas
©Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles.
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