Chicago, January 6, 2010 Ah, the joys of modern air travel. Sitting in O’Hare Airport waiting to board United 581 to Beijing. Taking a Boeing 777 that seats 251. Right now, 235 are checked in. Of course, we’re flying economy which includes two lunches and a movie. Yippee. The flight is just under 14 hours and 6579 miles.
The weather in Beijing is sunny and 1°F. Just a tad colder than here.
Yesterday was supposed to be our flight, but the leg from Reagan/National to Chicago was delayed due to a maintenance issue and by the time we got to Chicago the Beijing flight had left. So, United put us up for the night and bought us a (modest) dinner. We walked in the cold Chicago winds and found a geocache. Slept well, but the hotel air was very dry which affected everyone's’ breathing and skin.
I will say the United staff was helpful and handled our (and everybody else) with grace and good humor. Ditto for the TSA folks. Most travelers were relaxed and handled all the hurry up and wait with smiles. It is easy to get a little impatient with those folks who didn’t check online or with a travel agent to adhere to luggage requirements. A group of four guys took about twice as long in the check-in in repacking and rearranging. But, we had no place to go anyhow so I engaged in a favorite pass time - people watching.
Back in the Shenandoah Valley, people watching reveals more diversity than it did just a few years ago. But, you haven’t seen diversity until you’ve hung out in a big airport for a while. It is a big and wonderfully varied world in which we live and travel. In addition to the people there’s the languages, the clothes, the types of luggage..... the everything.
OK, boarding the plane. Don't know when I'll be able to post this.