|Despair at 35,000 feet... and this was the good meal!|
|Things only went downhill from here...|
This, quite grievously, was but a pale, dim harbinger of the misery to come on the journey back to KL.
I already wrote about being stranded in L.A. for 24 hours, so let me continue on from there. Since the employees at Southwest who were there at the airport specifically told me that Southwest would reimburse me for my hotel expense, I got a room nearby, which I also wrote about. I think I made the best of that whole situation, and the time spent there watching the football game and relaxing before heading back to the airport was really not too bad. Once I got to LAX that evening though, I guess things started to unravel. I checked in and gave China Southern my bags some three hours before my flight left, so no problem there. I made my way through the awful security bottleneck at the International Terminal (a little over an hour) and to the gate. Though the Terminal 1 concourse there is actually pretty decent, the actual gates at LAX's International Terminal are dire. Sterile, bare, never enough seats... a truly woebegone farewell to departing passengers. So there I languished for another two hours, then got on the plane for the 15-hour flight back across the Pacific. The flight was completely full, always a nightmare on such an epic flight.
|Now think about this... when was the last|
time you saw an ashtray at your seat
on a commercial aircraft?
So after an uneventful 15-hour flight across the Pacific that, mercifully, I largely slept through, we landed in fabulous Guangzhou early in the morning on January 10th. The outside temperature was 48°F, about 9°C, and I'm not even joking here, the temperature inside the airport wasn't much higher. I don't know if the heat was not working or if they just never bothered to install it to begin with, but it was flat-out cold inside the terminal. All the workers were wandering around wearing coats and scarves. I half-expected to see a team of sled dogs being mushed down the concourse. Once again, we had to endure the abject silliness of going through immigration and security, all with the added joy of freezing half to death during the process.
|What the hell? It's so bizarre, there's not even an|
international symbol for it. (Note that all the other
signs have symbols alongside the text.)
|Not sure about the Chinese part, but|
the English part is a total lie
|See my suitcase here? Yeah, neither did I.|
Later that night, I got a call from China Southern airlines, telling me that my bag hadn't actually been lost, no no no, it had actually been purposefully detained in Guangzhou. They said they suspected a pressurized can was in the bag, so they wanted my permission to open the luggage (nice of them to ask) and remove the offending can. Now, fortunately, I had packed my bags with loads of time to spare back in Denver, and actually made an inventory list of what was in which suitcase. Yeah, I know, I'm insane, but I've only ever done this twice, and both times it's paid off. Once was on my initial flight to KL when I moved here and one of my bags got mauled and eaten by the baggage handling system in Los Angeles. And now this episode. I wonder if it's making the inventory lists that's causing the problem?? Hmmm...
|Oh, you evil, wicked shaving gel, causing|
all this international drama
So now, the only thing left to do is try to get my reimbursement from Southwest. So far, they're refusing, but I'm not backing down since it was totally their fault the flight was delayed (they told me it was a baggage unloading issue that delayed the plane from even reaching Denver on time), totally their fault I missed my flight to Asia, and totally their employees who emphatically assured me I would be reimbursed. I'm rather annoyed by Southwest's unwillingness to own up to this and just pay my hotel bill, but I am almost certainly not going to fly China Southern again if there's any way to avoid it. They're just stupid. Stupid airline and an even stupider airport. *Shakes fist*
To end on a more upbeat note, I'll close out with a few photos from the trip that didn't make the previous entries. See you next time...
|Shiloh and me in happier, pre-travel times;|
I just need an eye patch and a pirate hat
|The City and County building in|
downtown Denver... all lit up
|Frozen waterfall — Idaho Springs, Colorado|
(Can it even be called a waterfall? It's not water and it's not falling. Hmm.)
|My dad and mom, hunkered down against the|
howling winter winds in the mountains west of Denver
|A cold, clear late December day in the Rockies|
|My crazy bird, Shiloh, helping herself to my coffee|