Friday morning, we got our luggage out our door for pick-up bright and early as Brenda instructed us to do the evening before, and we brought our passports to her at breakfast. She said she would use them to get our boarding passes for the flight to Yichang where we would board our ship.
I forgot to mention in my earlier post that the breakfast buffet at the Shangri-La is international. IHOP has nothing on this place. We could choose from Chinese (salads and vegetables and dinner food and - oh, the noodles!), English (love those grilled tomatoes and mushrooms), or American (pancakes, waffles, omelets, bacon, yogurt and cereal) – and hordes of fresh fruit. I had my first lichi (lychee?), which was pretty interesting. There was a melon with tiny black seeds throughout the white meat. I didn’t like that one so well. The big surprise, however, was the watermelon. Watermelon was served at every meal. I was in breakfast heaven.
From this breakfast Kathie and I absconded with some food for lunch since lunch was to be on our own. She picked up some smoked salmon and a roll; my choice was cheese and a roll. Surreptitiously tucked those in Kathie’s bag and we were off.
On our way to the airport we stopped at the Shanghai Museum where we got more than our fill of non-modern Chinese art. I like that stuff ok but one can take only so many old paintings of tall skinny mountains shrouded in mist with a little fat man sitting in the window of a house at the foot of said mountains. Or Buddha sculptures – in every pose, every medium, and every size. Or ethnic dress – could we at least put the clothes on a manikin? Personally, I would have liked to see some contemporary Chinese art. Surely they have some of that somewhere.
We drove to the airport where Brenda handed us our passports and boarding passes. The group melted into the lines for security and, as usual, I chose the line that took the longest. Consequently, when the young man at the desk told me that something on my boarding pass didn’t match the corresponding whatever on my passport and that I would have to go back out to the ticketing area to get it fixed, Kathie had already cleared security and was waiting for me but everyone else had left the area and headed to the gate – including Brenda our guide/babysitter/negotiator. I mouthed an explanation to Kathie, then turned around and high-tailed it back out to the lobby.
Remembering Steve Martin’s advice, I explained my dilemma slowly and clearly to the ticketing agent. In turn, he explained slowly and clearly to me (several times, because reading lips isn’t so easy when the lips speak with an accent) that I needed to go down to A18 to have the supervisor – who looked like he was all of 20 years old - fix my boarding pass. The whole time I was imagining Brenda freaking out because she had lost one of her ducklings.
When I returned to the security area with my corrected boarding pass, there were Kathie and Brenda looking very relieved to see me. I wasn’t out of the woods yet though. No sirree, now I got to have the scanner guy relieve me of all of my hand sanitizer. “What?? But I have it in my quart sized baggie of liquids,” I wailed. No, he wasn’t having any of that. It was flammable, he said. I should have packed it in my checked baggage, he said.
I spent the rest of the trip in varying states of anxiety that I didn’t have any hand sanitizer.
And this is why I don’t blog very often…I get so hung up writing stream of consciousness stuff that I can only cover one day of travel at a sitting. Throw in photographs and hyperlinks to background material and I get, like, paralyzed in the quagmire of details.