Bob, a friend of mine, spends his time-saving money (he’s not married) so he can go on jaunts around the world. I’ve done my fair share of traveling but he seems to have been almost everywhere. In March of this year 2010 he already had plans to visit Shanghai. I thought I’ve been to China and enjoyed my visit immensely but why rave over Shanghai ? He never answered apart from saying the Expo 2010! I didn’t question him further.
Months later I had an invitation from a friend to visit China. I had previously learned to eat with chop sticks and cannot pass a Chinese restaurant without my mouth-watering so it was no hardship for me to accept. My wife was just happy to get me out from under feet so she could tinker in the garden. So off I went the bag in hand, with a very eye-catching ice blue pull behind so I could easily see it among all the hordes of black bags.
I checked in, waved good-bye to the pull behind and made my way to security. I don’t have one of those frequent traveler cards that allow you, for a fee of cause and back ground check to breeze through security so I was in for “the full Monty” which means removing belts, shoes, being scrutinized and formally introduced to the latest screening gizmo. Even the Fiji water had to be discarded for some tasteless substitute only to find all the retailers are buying a substitute. Oh for the days of yester year when traveling was exciting, there were no security level alerts and no one monopolized the choice of water. Don’t get me wrong I like to feel and be safe but where do we go from here? What is the next step?
Twelve hours later the FUN began: the connection arrived 45 minutes late, giving me only 30 minutes to catch my last flight. Obviously the connection was in another concourse, one floor up at the last gate. I ran like someone crazy but when I saw security my heart dropped, but something miraculous happened, I showed my ticket and they rushed my bag through while I went through the metal detector which beeped, thirty seconds later after the” wand treatment” I was on my way and caught the plane.
Remember that very eye-catching pull behind which could be easily seen among the hordes of black bags it was nowhere to be seen. When everyone had gone this very official looking Chinese man approach, he asked if there was a problem? I explained the situation, he keyed in my claim tag number in his smart phone and one minute later he said it’s in Japan!? He confidently said the pull behind would be my hotel in two days. Wow I thought that’s efficient but then came the paper work. So many printers without paper or ink so he settled for the old-fashioned way pen and paper.
The next installment of this trip will show the wonders and surprises found at EXPO 2010 Shanghai.