Friday, December 9, 2011

There and back again

Here is a run down of our trip from Edmonton to Xining.

It all started on Tuesday morning. It was 530am in Edmonton, on December 6th no less, yet it smelled melty outside. I was sure that it was going to be a nice day in Edmonton but we weren't going to be there for it.

We checked in at 630. I've tried checking in with the "self check-in" machine about 76 times now and it's worked once. I remember that day. On this day, it did not work. As I usually do, I worried that our bags would be overweight and we'd have to pay. Well, for some blessed reason the lady did not weigh our bags. She just told me to toss them on the belt.

7am now and plenty of time for some breakfast at Harvey's. I didn't want to challenge my stomach to that kind of thing this early in the trip so I just shared Miles' peanut butter sandwich. Soon after, we hugged the grandpa and grandma McClelland and headed for security. I reminded Barbara to take the toothpaste out of her bag because it is illegal to carry toothpaste on the flight. As the sign says, " Some things just aren't meant to fly."

Around 8ish we hang out at the gate. A lady recognizes Miles' Nakamun shirt and we find out that her daughter worked there in the Summer.

We fly to Vancouver. Flying to Vancouver is super easy. It's actually easier to fly to Vancouver than it is to drive out to Camp or Stony Plain with the kids. The in-flight TVs keep Miles and Jonas' attention the whole time. We even get ginger ale and pretzels.

In Vancouver, we meet up with Bryce and Krista and the kids for some Timbits. The girls chat while Bryce and I watch the boys. Miles and Jonas found there way into climbing in between two rows of carts. Jonas cries. I pace over and try to pull him out. I notice a couple of airport workers sympathetically laughing in our direction. I discover that Jonas' pants got caught on the cart and exposed his blue and green underwear. He cried more. I apologized.

At 1155am we get on the plane to Shang Hai. Once again, it was a pretty smooth trip. Miles watched way too much TV, but I allow it on airplanes so that I don't lose my sanity. I watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles and I also watch Horrible Bosses. The former is a classic that I always enjoy. I love John Candy. The latter was funny, but way too crude for even a laid back guy such as me.

Our flight attendant friend was on board for the flight. She took good care of us. We got 4 blankets, 2 helicopter toys, 2 coloring books, 6 full cans of ginger ale and a cheese plate from first class. Thanks, Grace!

We arrive in Shang Hai around 6pm on Wednesday night. So, we skipped a day in there. I try not to think about it too much; makes the jet lag more tolerable. We arrive at the hostel that we stayed at when we left China 2 months earlier. They are glad to see us. I go out to buy food for the train ride and come back and we all sleep.

7am on Thursday. We lug our luggage outside and wait for a taxi. After 20 minutes, I worry. Finally, a guy pulls up and we make it to the train station at about the right time. We get on the train at 846am and then the real trip begins.

Around 9am the boys get bored. They run around the car. Barbara and I are sick from breathing in the airplane air for 12 hours and we spend most of the time fighting off head colds and telling the boys to be quiet.

Eat some instant noodles. I realize that I did not buy enough food. We starve for most of the trip. You can only eat so many packs of instant noodles.

The boys make friends with a lady who lets them play Angry Birds on her iPad.


More noodles.

I am making my way through Deathly Hallows. It is so good that I want to pace myself.

We sleep pretty well in the night.

We eat noodles for breakfast.

I decide to tell the boys some stories. "There once was 2 little muggle boys named Miles and Jonas... They were walking in the snow when they heard their favorite Christmas song Jingle Bell Rock coming from a store... They went in and saw a giant Santa made out of chocolate..."

Later, Miles had his own story that started out like this, "There once were 2 muggles named Miles and Dad. Dad's real name was Brett..." It was a good story.

Finally, we spot someone selling fruit at a stop. I buy oranges and we eat. The first fruit or vegetable any of us had since the flight some 45 hours earlier.

At 5pm on Friday, 32 hours since we got on the train, we arrive in beautiful Xining. Our gorgeous friend Dustin is there to pick us up. After driving for 10 minutes we realize that the back hatch of the jeep is wide open. Thankfully, everything was still inside.

We get home around 6 and I go out to buy a ton of Chinese food for us to eat. Only here in China, it's just called food. The restaurant has one of those tall heaters that are so popular these days. It had an English label on it that said "for outdoor use only".

We eat, and eat some more. The boys run around the apartment. They get tired. They go to bed by 8. We are all asleep by 930.

Right now, it is 630am on Saturday. I got up a couple of hours ago but the boys are still asleep. Barbara is quietly organizing stuff in the bedroom. I love my family. I don't really like traveling that much. I love my family.

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