The ceiling of the airport was 3 stories high. I could see it through a layer of wooden planks spaced out evenly below. I stretched out over three seats in the terminal, listening to hip hop.
I got up and stretched. The Boeing 757 was next to Gate 12. It looked beautiful in that moment, my ticket home to America.
In high spirits I approached the counter, ready to check in and sit down for my fourteen hour flight from Peking Capital Airport to Washington D.C. That’s when I saw the mob at the counter.
A man pointed his finger at a women across the desk. “You owe everyone here an apology!”. A group of white, yellow, and black skinned human beings stood in front of the counter. They held blue american passports and looked confused.
“Yep. They cancelled the flight. Some people from Hong Kong are on the plane and they can’t enter here” said a precarious young man with a patchy red beard and canvas strap backpack.
“It’s a mechanical problem. I expect compensation. Do you know that I have spent over 15,000 dollars in transit this year?” said an older man in a baggy, navy blue business suit on his cellphone in the outskirts.
I thought about approaching the counter, but decided it was not worth the effort. The look of pain and despair on the crowd of passengers was enough to tell me the whole story.
I asked an attendant what the situation was in Chinese and she looked at me gratefully. Apparently people only like to practice a foreign language when they are not talking about broken planes and modified travel plans. She told me that the plane was broken and we would stay in a hotel.
So, that’s how I came to be here, at my desk in the Crown Royal Plaza hotel room, writing this. Almost a day later and into my red, white, and blue vacation time.
Still in Beijing. Haven’t moved.
Flight delays are inevitable. That is why I prefer to take the train. In fact, China does have a very good high speed rail system. Only a few weeks earlier I took the train to Shanghai. However, there is no high speed rail to Boston. Not yet, at least…
I’m still holding out for that one.
I met a group from Harvard. They are in a masters program for architecture. I didn’t know Harvard had an architecture program.
They say that Boston is already in the 40’s. I asked if they meant celsius of fahrenheit. While it was a relief to finally be able to talk with someone about the weather in my preferred barometer of temperature, it was depressing in the end to learn that they had not been using celsius. Oh well.
Still excited to see the foliage. Still excited to see my family.