This morning we got up at 4:45 am. We had to have our bags outside of our doors by 5:30 and be down at the 2nd floor lobby by 5:50 in order to leave for the airport. Our guide, Grace, went with us to the airport in order to make sure we didn't have any hang-ups at the airport check-in counter. No problems! We were off and on our way to Beijing.
Once we got to Beijing we had to recollect our luggage and go through security again in order to get into the international terminal. Who was the only one pulled to the side for the full pat down? That's right, me! The security lady was insisting I had matches and liquid in my purse. I told her I didn't have liquid and that I've never carried matches in my purse in my life. She didn't buy it until my purse was completely empty and ran through x-ray again. I was mildly annoyed, but it wasn't that big of a deal because we had a five hour layover. I had plenty of time for a pat down. Once in the international terminal, we sat down to wait for the 2 1/2 hours we had left until boarding time. However, right before boarding they got on the PA system and told us our flight would be delayed, but they didn't know for how long. Ugggghhhh!!! We proceded to wait another 2 hours and I finally sent B up to the counter to find out what was going on. He came back and said a volcano blew in Russia and we couldn't take off because of the ash. I told him to quit making things up and another guy came by and said, "no, that's the truth, they don't know when we will take off." In my mind I'm imagining another week in Beijing and starting to feel sick. Next thing you know they were calling us to board. The pilot had submitted an alternate travel route and it was accepted.
Talk about the longest flight of my life. Hainan Airlines has very little leg room, the seats don't recline but 2 or 3 inches, and their meals look like cat puke. I would never fly through them again. To top it all off, every time Cara would start to cry or get upset they would come ask me if I needed help. All of the kids on the plane were seated in the same area, so I am quite confident in saying that they didn't offer to help any other parent and there were other kids crying more than Cara. It was so irritating! I wanted to ask, "what are you going to do to help? Walk her around the plane? Do you have a toddler bed in the back?" I mean, seriously, what did they think they could do to help? I can see why some passengers go into airline rage. Those stewardesses were annoying!!!
We finally got to Seattle 2 1/2 hours late and had to go through immigration. Office Gomez walked us over to the counter and told us to wait until our name was called. We waited a bit, then he came back and opened our brown envelope and called us to the counter, he started reading the paperwork then told us he needed to go check on something so we just needed to "chillax." Yes, that's right, he said chillax. I thought only 7th graders used that term, but apparently it is also used by the Department of Homeland Security. He brought out another officer who told us that Cara's paperwork indicated she had type B TB. This means she is not contagious but needs to see a doctor to get it checked out in case it could become contagious. This was news to me. No one mentioned it at the clinic in Guangzhou. You would think it would be important information to have...Nevertheless, Cara's paperwork was stamped and we were off. Luggage had to be rescreened and sent from the international baggage claim to the regular baggage claim. We went to the main terminal, collected our luggage, and called the Masterpark guy. He came quickly and hauled us to our waiting car. The picture above is Cara's first steps on American soil as our newest little citizen!
We drove home from Seattle and were greeted by a "Welcome Home" sign made by A's BF and his mom. Grandma came to visit for awhile and Grandpa came after that. We are so glad to be home! Let the jet lag begin!