Day 13:Kunming to Beijing (August 6th)
I woke up to see it was once again: raining. With no plans for this morning in Kunming, it raining outside, and plans to leave at noon for the airport we opted to take our time to pack up and check out. With Adam heading to Hong Kong today and no use for his Chinese SIM card he gave it to me to use for the next couple of days before I head to Mongolia. Before departing we had a quick breakfast in the hotel lobby. Bread with jam… it reminded me of my travels throughout South America where I had that for breakfast far too many times. Once we were packed up and ready to go we loaded into the vehicle our hotel arranged for us and made our way to the airport without issue.
Arriving at the airport about 3 hours before our flight, Kim and I said a quick goodbye to Adam, Yasmeen, and Talaal as we were off to Beijing and they’re heading to Hong Kong. We figured we’d able to see them again after checking in to say a proper goodbye, but forgot that because we are flying domestic and they are flying internationally we are in different parts of the airport. Kim and I then went to go check in for our flight. Kim checked in quickly without issue, but when I went to do so it quickly turned into a massive headache. Because I booked my ticket with my old passport that was damaged and was now using my new passport they wouldn’t issue my ticket. Why this was an issue I’m not sure since Hainan airline had no issue doing it for the two previous flights so it came as a surprise the China Eastern would have any issue with it. The woman at the desk explained to me that I had to call China Eastern to have my passport number changed so they could issue me a ticket. All I could think was thankfully I had got Adam’s SIM card earlier otherwise it might have been an even bigger headache. Kim and I stepped to the side as I called the number they gave me. From here it just got worse though. After waiting for the machine to give me English options I was transferred to a woman that spoke quite poor English and was very hard to understand and hear with all the airport background noise. She asked me to send a photo of my old passport and new passport to an email address which I couldn’t understand. I explained to her several times that I don’t have my old passport since Canada wouldn’t let me keep it. Eventually, she understood and told me I needed to email them a photo of my new passport, pay 50 Yuan and call Ctrip (the online agency my sister booked the ticket through). I wasn’t impressed, but she said she would send me a text with the instructions of what to do and the email to contact. I called Ctrip first and things went much better. After a few moments on the phone, they were able to switch my passport number online and told me to check in with the airline to see if the change went through. Thankfully it did which meant I dodge having to email the airline and hopefully having to pay the 50 Yuan.
From this point on things went smoothly enough. Security was a breeze which was a nice relief. After going through security I was feeling a bit hungry and rather than risk eating something questionable I went with an option I couldn’t be more certain my body would handle fine. Any guesses? For those that read my Ride to Remember blog, it should be obvious. The answer, of course, is Subway!
Our flight ended up being delayed about an hour because of the rain, but in the end, it was pretty inconsequential.
The flight itself wasn’t so bad. We had the window and middle seat. Surprisingly a meal was included which of course Kim and I could only eat part of since the other part had meat. A Chinese detective movie with subtitles (and no sound) also played on the overhead screens. I didn’t pay much attention to it until closer to the end and then before the flight ended they cut the movie off to display information about our landing. If I had been closely following along I would have been annoyed not to know it ends.
Getting off the plane and getting our luggage went pretty smoothly and once we had it Jamie was waiting there to meet us and help us navigate the airport express and subway system back to our hotel. Kim and I paid careful attention so that we have a better idea of what to do when we need to go back later on our own. It was great to see him and hear a little bit about his time in Taiwan and China. Unlike the other places we’ve been in China so far Beijing is quite hot. When I checked the weather it said it felt like 31.
Once at the hotel, we checked in and had the chance to chat with one of my brothers and Dave. It was super nice to see them both. We spent a little time planning out activities for the next few days and agreeing to start our day at 8am tomorrow. Then after hanging out for a bit and showering, I called it a night.
PS: Happy Birthday to my wonderful friend Tania!