I travel for my real job and have been away from home now for a while. I love this site since I can keep my mind on my shop when I am away. I miss the sound of my saw.
I started this trip in Hong Kong after a 16 hour flight directly over the North pole from a connecting flight in Newark. I had a meeting there and wandered the city a bit. I love this city. It is a real paradise for the traveler. Great people, great food, great things to see. Best Chinese food you could imagine.. but they don’t call it Chinese food in China… they just call it food.
Anyhow from there I had a meeting in a city in China called Nanjing to close a major sale. Nanjing used to be called Nanking by us many years ago but like Peking is now Beijing. Anyhow it is an old city where you can see some of old china still. It was an interesting place. The problem was leaving. I had an 8:00am flight back to Hong Kong to connect with a flight to Mumbai (formerly called Bombay) India. Well, my taxi which should have taken 50 minutes to go to the airport arrived at my hotel and told me that it would cost double for the ride. Since my Chinese is almost non-existent, I was lucky that one woman at the hotel could translate for me.
I asked why to discover that it has snowed the night before. This city gets snow sometimes, but never this much. Also, they have no snow plows. So he wanted double the taxi fare because of the risk involved. I offered to show him how to drive safely in the snow. I told him that I would drive if he would tell me where to turn. He did not go for that idea. So anyhow it took us almost one and a half hours arriving only 25 minutes before my flight. I was sure that if the planes were going to take off, I was too late to get on. On the way there I saw no less than 12 cars spin out like a fat guy at the ice rink.
Anyhow, I arrived at the check in counter after passing initial security at the airport to find that the flights would all be delayed. Surprise surprise. So they told me to just stick around and see what happens but most likely I would not fly. I had to wait since I did have a connection to make and really, what else did I have to do? At least I was at the airport and there was no other place to be.
So the wait began. An amazing part of travel like this is how quickly you can make new friends. In line I struck up a conversation with 2 men. Each were the agriculture ministers from their countries Malaysia and Brunei. We had breakfast together and I learned about these two places. After breakfast I saw another guy that looked American and we struck up a chat. He was installing machinery in a factory in China and before long a nice woman from Norway joined us. She was there buying camping tents for a company she worked for back in her country. Next came an IT guy from Australia who works for Ford Motors in Singapore. Wow this world is amazing.
Well, as hours passed, the snow continues to fall and more accumulated on the wings of the planes outside as we became content that this would be our new home for as long as it takes. The airline treated us to both breakfast and lunch as hours continued to pass. The amazing thing was that nobody was getting upset. The usual jerk in the airport who takes out his anger on the airline employees who somehow were responsible for the snow must have stayed home. We were all kind of in this together.
Finally after 10 hours of hanging out, we heard a loud noise like a jet taking off.. It was weird since nobody had boarded. We went to the window to see in one direction 12 guys with shovels clearing the taxi way and int he other a large pair of trucks with jet engines on the back that were being used to blow off the runways. It was amazing to see how strong the thrust of the engines could blow the snow. An hour later we barded the planes but the planes were completely covered with snow. While still on the ground we had drinks and dinner and finally a crew arrived to de-ice the plane. After twelve and a half hours of waiting we were off to Hong Kong. Of course I missed my flight to India and made it the next day. I will tell you about my adventures in India next. When I arrived in India, I read on the CNN web site that the snow had gotten worse in China and many were now dead and homeless as the snow crushed homes and buildings that could not hold the weight on the roof and cars and buses slid into each other and off of cliffs. This is the worst snow in China’s history.
-- making sawdust....