Monday, September 13, 2004
 

Here's the delightful thing about air travel in China: Pudong, the newer of Shanghai's two airports, is sometimes closed due to weather. It is, of course, impossible for the pilot to determine this without beginning his approach to the runway. Once his does determine Pudong is closed, he will abort his approach and redirect to the other airport which is called something inutterable by Westerners but apparently meaning something like "Shitty Airport, Without Gate Access or Customs Agents." The pilot will begin his approach to this airport and, after a fly-by by another commercial jet in which we pass close enough to see its passengers' smiling faces, he may decide to give Pudong another try. He'll abort another approach and return to Pudong. It may still be fogged-in, so the pilot might now decide to return to the first airport. He'll land there, but he'll not be allowed to let anyone off the plane for two hours because, as is indicated by the airport's name, there will be no gates or customs agents available. The pilot will be told to return to Pudong by the tower and, after a revolt by coach passengers following the announcement, he may refuse. After additional negotiations, passengers will be allowed to deplane, only to join a screaming, sweaty, smelly mob pushing toward the four customs agents on duty.

After 15 hours to Hong Kong, then this, it's no wonder the hotel bed, despite being approximately as hard as obsidian, feels wonderous.

Analogcabin @ 9:32 PM
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