I’s not about the destination — it’s about the journey.
I’ve always disagreed strongly with this idea. I love to visit new places, but I have the actual traveling part. But this post isn’t about the destination because I haven’t even made it that far yet. This is about my journey to Beijing — the most ridiculous trip I’ve been on so far.
To start, I want to make the comment that I paid extra to get tickets for a flight that left at 5:30pm instead of 9pm. Shenzhen to Beijing is a three hour flight, and I wanted to get there early enough so that I could take the metro to my hostel instead of taking a taxi.
So I learn the day of my flight that there’s apparently a crazy storm that will hit Beijing that evening. I had my doubts we’d leave on time, but I was hopeful. After meeting with a friend for coffee and hopping on the express metro to the airport I arrived at 4pm. I flew through the check in line and security — but the gates were overcrowded and the status signed flashed an ugly yellow over all of the delayed flights. Uh-oh.
So I got some coffee expecting a delay, but my flight kept saying on schedule, until it was time to board and nobody was boarding. Eventually it said delayed until 6:30. Ok, not so bad.
At 6:30 they made an announcement that they were moving us to a hotel until we had a departure time. As a quick note this is ALL happening in Chinese and I have no idea what’s going on. Eventually an airport attendant came over with translated instructions for me so I could find my way to the bus to the hotel.
After getting checked in, I realized I had a pretty nice room. So I hung out there, watched a movie, complained to some friends — and just waited.
It wasn’t too long before the busses pulled back up. We were back at the airport by 9:30, and we’re told we’d leave at around 10pm.
Eventually we made it on the jet and took off at 11:50. Six hours late. Oh well — at least we were going finally!!
We got in the air and we’re eventually served dinner. Now I’m not sure if it was because I was starving — but the food was absolutely delicious.
Two hours into our three hour flight they made an announcement — we were landing. The landing was far from smooth – but hey we finally landed! Just.. in the wrong city. We landed in Zhengzhou which is the capital of Henan province. That’s when announcements no longer had any English translations. I had no idea what was going on.
We sat on the plane for half an hour after landing, then were moved into the terminal. After half an hour in an empty terminal we were moved to another hotel.
This hotel was far less nice and I had to share a room. Thankfully I managed to be in a room with the most helpful Chinese woman who spoke English well. We were in our rooms at 4am and just passed out.
At 7 am thinking phone rang — were we finally going to make it to Beijing?!
Nope, just breakfast.
We spent the next few hours just relaxing and trying to get more information on our flight. Eventually we get news that they will try to take us to the airport at 1230 and maybe we can leave shortly after.
This was at 9:30am were exhausted and tired of waiting around, so we opted to take a different route and go catch a train instead. I’m so thankful that this woman was so friendly and helpful, because I’d probably still be waiting in that hotel room.
I’m currently half way through a three hour train ride to Beijing going 300kmph, and the weather outside is just awful — it’s highly unlikely that plane will take off anytime soon.
I should arrive at my hostel at about 3pm — 23 hours after arriving at the airport.
It’s been one heck of a journey, but I’m excited to finally be arriving in Beijing!
*Update – I finally arrived at my hostel at 430 PM, 25 hours after I left for the airport.