Tag Archives: Travel

Neither here nor there

I got home yesterday, October 29 at about 8:15 am, Pacific Daylight Time, my day had started in Beijing, China at about 5:15 am (Beijing time). The shuttle to the airport picked me up at about 8:15 a.m.

I tend to be where I am pretty completely. But yesterday I got home about the time I left the hotel. Did the day happen?

In sci-fi there is a lot of literature about time machines. I say they exist now: airplanes whisk us through the space time continuum. When you are aboard you aren’t really anywhere or anywhen, so in some ways the day didn’t happen. But boy was I tired out by the day that wasn’t!

Not so bright…

In Chinese “I don’t understand” is “wo bu ming bai” (. It literally means “I not bright white”. Truer words never spoken!

Yesterday I arrived at my son’s school gate. The journey to that gate was long, and tiring.

Let’s see if I can figure it out:

1) I arose in Seattle Tuesday morning at about 6 a.m. (In China it was Tuesday evening at 9 p.m.); I ran errands and shoved even more things into my already bumping up against the weight limit luggage (the bag I checked weighed 49 lb with a limit of 50 lb, the weight limit on my backpack is what I can lift into and overhead bin and I was right up against that limit as well (about 30 lb)).

2) Picked up at 1:30 p.m. And arrived at the airport at 2 p.m. PDT, 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. Wednesday China time. The flight left at 5:00 p.m PDT (8:00 a.m. China time). It arrived at 7:30 p.m. China time (4:30 a.m. PDT). I accrued about an hour of sleep on the flight.

3) The line at the Chinese passport check point was pretty short but there was only one guy working it and someone five people ahead had some type of complication, so the wait was disproportional with the line length (this is one of the on-going themes of my life)

4) Airport hotel shuttle bus was waiting, got checked into a wonderful place, took a hot bath and I was in bed, relaxed and comfortable by 10:30 p.m. China time (7:30 a.m. PDT). But I wasn’t real drowsy I remember seeming 11:30 on my watch. I know I slept some but was awake and not drowsy by 4:30 a.m. Beijing time (1:30 p.m. PDT). I was relaxed and comfortable so let’s give it the whole 5 hours.

Quick summary we are at a sleep total of 6 hours and a elapsed time of 28.5 hours.

5) Delicious/leisurely breakfast at 6:30 followed by somewhat less leisurely tooth-brushing, restowing and race to get a shuttle to the airport to get a shuttle to the train station. That went surprisingly well, I got my ticket and got to the boarding location at the same time the bus did. Big Bertha got to ride below but I had the backpack with me and the bus was full, so I had it in my lap. I had to get off the bus last so I had room to put the pack on since I can’t carry that much load unbalanced.

6) Two security checkpoints (lines with x-ray machines for luggage and metal detectors for folks) and two ticket lines later (I waited in the wrong line for a while) and I had a ticket to ride and was ready to heed natures call. About 10:30 a.m. China time (7:30 p.m. PDT).

7) The longest 5 minutes was heeding natures call. All’s well that ends well and the more so when the ending well part was in question: squatty-potty, 30 lb or so backpack…Nothing snapped (like a knee) and I didn’t have to push up from the floor to re-erect myself. So now its about 10:40 a.m. and my train is scheduled to leave at 12:50 p.m.

8) The train was delayed. There was a seriously crowded melee and confusion (mostly mine). But I got to Weifang about 4:40 p.m. Beijing time (1:40 a.m. Seattle time).

9) With backpack on and Big Bertha in tow I got a taxi and handed the driver my carefully printed out address sheet. He let me off across the street from the school.

10) I slung the backpack back on, extended Big Bertha’s handle and trudged across the street during a break in traffic and arrived at the guard gate about 5:30 p.m. China time (2:30 a.m. PDT)

Elapsed time is 41.5 hours, accrued sleep time 6 hours. I did study Chinese for about six weeks before this trip, but when the guard said something, I came out with “wo ming bai”, when I clearly didn’t ming bai (and I probably didn’t look real ming eyed and bushy tailed either!).

I quickly corrected myself (I doubt he believed that I had understood), he called someone who spoke English (she also worked with James and knew I was coming so explanations weren’t all that important)…All’s well that ends well.

Travel Theme: Gleaming

To gleam is to “shine brightly, especially with reflected light”, according to The Google. Here are some of my gleaming travel experiences.

These are the gleaming white walls of “The Getty” in LA:

A gleaming sculpture welcoming folks to Yreka, California:

Gleaming Bronze sculpture in Yreka, California.
Gleaming Bronze sculpture in Yreka, California.

A sheep with gleaming wool somewhere in western Ireland:

Gleaming sheep wool, somewhere in western Ireland.
Gleaming sheep wool, somewhere in western Ireland.

Gleaming modern Beijing Nan (South) train station:

Beijing Nan train station in China.
Beijing Nan train station in China.

A gleaming sea serpent in Fort Bragg, California:

Sea serpent at Fort Bragg Botanical Garden in California.
Sea serpent at Fort Bragg Botanical Garden in California.

Gleaming golden serenity in the form of the Buddha at the Great Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian, China:

Golden Buddha at Great Wild Goose Pagoda
Gleaming serenity.

Pasqueflower seedheads gleaming in the early morning light at Mount Rainier in Washington state:

Pasqueflower seedheads.
Pasqueflower seedheads.

Post inspired by Where’s My Backpack Travel Theme: Gleaming.

Happy, yet well prepared, wanderer

I love to travel, and a lot of the fun for me is doing the research ahead of time. Learning a few words of the language, something about the culture, and what options are available for activities and sights. I carefully create a folder with an itinerary showing where I will be with phone numbers and contact information, vocabulary, transportation schedules , maps, and information about sights. However, once all the research is done I am ready to play it by ear.

I do this regardless of how I travel: bicycle (only once), walk, cruise, automobile, train…Just thinking about it makes me want to start planning to head off somewhere far away from the craziness of my life right now.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Happy Wanderer.”