Yeah. I have NO IDEA.
So I left Seoul to head to Beijing, allthewhile thinking “hell yeah, Great Wall, bring it.” You see, I was to arrive in Beijing tonight about 9pm local time. So, being the conscientious traveller, I arrived at the airport early, had a glass of wine or two, a piece of tiramisu and called it ‘dinner.’ Yum.
So boarded the plane. Had some apple juice (strangely popular here), read a bit of my book and decided to snooze in true Aubrey fashion. Woke up when we touched down, tried to REALLY wake up when we were taxi-ing, and then the plane stopped. We weren’t at the gate, but people got up and collected their bags so I assumed that despite the 777 nature of the flight, maybe in China they forego jetways and it would be a “bus to the gate” sorta deal. I’m a savvy traveller, nothing really phases me these days.
So the man across the way resumed his rousing game of (what I assume to be) poker. The attendants started serving water, apple juice (see? Strange obsession!), beer and sprite (I thought it was sparkling water, damnit.) They began playing “The Family Stone” on the tv screens. And, finally, they made an announcement. In Chinese.
Fast forward twenty minutes. Nothing is happening. Joe Chinaman is now apparently winning at poker, I have dry-mouth and there’s a police-looking car outside. Um….
Say it with me folks, WTF??
So I’ve had enough. Given that I don’t speak a word of Mandarin (and I think it’s too late to listen to my “mandarin for beginners” podcast), I politely ask a flight attendant what is going on. She speaks English about as well as I speak Mandarin, and I get the following: “weather. We return to Beijing when done weather.”
Um, RETURN? We’re not IN Beijing? (These are not just questions for emphasis, dear reader, they are what I ask her.) She laughs. “No. No Beijing.” Ok, she thinks I’m funny. “Where are we?” Her answer starts with an “s” but isn’t Shanghai. Ok, so from what I can tell, we’re NOT in Beijing, we’re in some random “S” city (or hell, country), we are stuck on this plane with no ETA to leave. And the dummy I am ordered a friekin’ SPRITE!!!
So wish me luck, Internet. Your favorite blonde former-Ohioan/North Carolinian/Georgian is somewhere in Asia, stuck on a plane with no English speakers, and is in a city starting with “S” while the flight attendants find me amusing.
If this isn’t the latter-day Carmen Sandiego, I don’t know what is.