Larry’s China Adventure – Day 0
Getting ready for a trip of this magnitude is never an easy task. I’ve been planning for this event for over a month, so much of the gear and paperwork had been accumulating in proper form in my home office – Meticulously packing the Kata backpack to handle the camera, the laptop, the snacks, etc. All in all this advance planning should support a relatively smooth transition.
One must understand (for those of those ‘with’ kids totally understand this) that handling two children (one at the upper limits of 2 and the other at 2 months) is quite a handful. My wife is the master-in-charge 24×7 catering to each and every request, every cry, every whine, every dirty diaper. This is of course until I open my office door and walk into the kitchen at the end of the workday (or if my eldest son barrels through the door pre-maturely on a hunt to find and capture my iPad). From that point in time until the morning, we are a parental tag team. I’m on toddler duty, Nina is on infant control, each and every day.
The reason that I mention all of this is that two days ago, my wife came down with a bug/illness that left her operating at 40% or less. This does not facilitate extra preparations for an extended international trip. To add insult to injury here, our air conditioning decided to spring a leak (thank God it is still under warranty) at the same time, adding an element of NC muggy warmth to an already irritating situation. Without getting into more excruciating details, I had to leave for the airport a bit unprepared. I had done my planning ahead of time – but something was off… was not sure what it was, but something was not right.
The flight to Detroit was uneventful and I made my way for my 3 hour layover to the Delta Sky Club. As for an annoying Friday airport lounge, it was on the better side and I made my way to the corner to build my travel nest to kill a few hours.
Not knowing what my connection speed (or access) in China will be, I planned on using this time to download all of the additional large files that I would need – ie manuals, presentations, whitepapers, etc. for my assignment (and week of meetings in Beijing). As I power on the laptop, I start to think about my plans next week in Beijing. I’m going to have to figure out where the local office is for meetings. I wonder if my ID will work, or if I will need to get local permission to access the facilities.
My heart sinks and I feel a blanket of despair envelop my body.
My ID card is not here. My ID card is at my house. My ID card is not coming with me to China. I am screwed.
Panic ensues and I immediately start connecting to all of the possible websites for shipping services. Can you overnight to Beijing? What is the cost? What is the time? It all looks like a stretch – with most of the services offering the ability to get there by Thursday. That will not do. I leave Friday for Nanning and I’ll be darned if I am going to take the risk.
It is unfortunately Friday night right now and nothing is open – I place a call back home to Nina to see if she can check in the morning with FedEx and others to see if something can be done. We both think that something else might have to happen. What are the other options? I’m going to have to live without it in Beijing, but Nanning will have me in the office on a more regular basis – I don’t want to deal with having to re-issue one in China . I don’t want to even think of that ordeal.
I’m now officially tired, frazzled and dreading this trip. 30+ days and I’m not even sure what else I forgot.
Not looking forward to the 14 hours in coach
But as it look dire for yours truly, Karma swings back and forth a bit as well. As I’m about to lose it getting on the flight from Detroit to Beijing, the friggin gate agent stops me in my tracks. “Um, looks like we have a problem. Please wait here Mr. Weber.”
Huh? Are you kidding me? After all of this I don’t even have a seat on the plane? As I start burning up, ready to punt this entire trip – a new attendant walks over to me with a slip of paper.
We are very sorry for this delay with your boarding
Being a Delta Diamond member, you have been upgraded to business for the flight.
Here is your new ticket. Thank you for being a Diamond member.
Karma swings back. Friggin Sweet!
What next occurred post a 2 hour bohemian feast of short rib and Bordeaux was 10 hours of full uninterrupted, full recline sleep. It had been so long since I had slept for more than 4 hours straight.
Perhaps this all is getting me ready for this trip. The ebb and the flow, the yin and the yang. Understanding that I can never be 100% prepared and that I must learn how to roll with the punches and accept things as they come.
I start to stow my gear in the overhead and prepare for my arrival in Beijing. I know that this first leg of the trip will be lighter on the cultural challenges than the latter (Western hotels, exec lounges, fast internet access, etc). My cousin is out here for a trip as well (for vacation)– so am looking forward to connecting with her before she heads back home.
I’m ready to put a close to Day 0.