Early travelers to China endured months at sea in cramped, filthy wooden ships. They ate worm infested food, drank stale water, suffered scurvy, and often died painful, terrifying deaths.
Nothing like this happened to us. Our flight from Seattle to Beijing was on time, and our seats comfy. The first hardship we faced was the same selection of movies that we had on our trip to the States 6 weeks earlier. Not “Little Miss Sunshine” again! It was also time for the beverage cart, and being the seasoned Hainan Airline passenger, I opted for the red wine, since they don’t understand the concept of cold beer. Cocktails are not offered at any price, but the wine is free. Two glasses is all I have ever managed to get from the crew, although since it is a Chinese airline, I am sure something could be arranged with a surreptitious bribe.
We then were served airplane food. Their airplane food is a few steps better than the swill served on United, and it is weevil free, however, it is airplane food. It fills the stomach, and dealing with the different packaging gives you some diversion from the fact that nobody in their right mind would actually order this in a restaurant. We did get a little cheese and cracker packet with Tillamook cheddar, and I told Brian to enjoy it since we wouldn’t be seeing any of that again for a while.
Somewhere near Beijing the attendants went around with these little guns that took your temperature remotely. Just aim the red dot at your forehead and read. The purpose was to pre select people for H1N1 quarantine. Looks like everyone was OK.
Beijing airport sucks. Our plane to Guangzhou was almost 3 hours late and WAAAAAH!
We eventually got back with no scurvy, pirates, typhoons, or mutinies. I suffered a painful back which was fixed by a very traditional method which I will relate soon.