Written on the 10.05.2015, enroute to Tokyo Haneda
Current time: 18:15 (+8 GMT)
Tokyo Haneda Inbound
The flight to Beijing was largely uneventful.
I’d been sat next to a rather eccentric woman (I assume was) in her late 40’s. Equally, she could have been in her late 50’s. It’s these sort of presumptions that often get me in to trouble; the lady’s name who I never managed to get, was heading out to the Philippines and had a four hour flight ahead of her.
The flight left Heathrow at approximately 23:10 on 09/05/15. The plane was a step up from a US Air flight I’d taken two years previous, but not quite Emirates. Perhaps it would have been worthwhile paying extra. As odd as these metrics appear at first, this was actually my third long haul flight; prior to this the others had been destined for Mumbai and Las Vegas.
A small consolation of the Air China entertainment package, bar the fact I had to navigate randomly in Mandarin, was ‘The Theory of Everything’. After hearing the the hype built up from my cinema going acquaintances and friends, well put it this way, I can see why Redmayne won the Oscar for Best Actor- an extraordinary performance.
My delayed 23:10 flight from London arrived at approximately 16:20 (+8 GMT). A time I’ve now dubbed- ‘this is where the fun began’.
Beijing Airport, as expected, followed suit with other marble lacquered globalised hub, donning a circus tent like roof, propped up on pillars of Chinese industrial might. As I made my through to transit to Haneda, I started to become concerned. My connecting flight was due to leave in just 30 minutes at 16:20.
Picking up the pace, I soon arrived at a queue for International Departures.
At the first check in desk sat a rather beige and bespectacled women in her 40’s (again an assumption) looking rather unamused. As per my luck, immediately after looking at my passport, she began conversing in a serious tone with her bald male colleague. Before I knew it, this man proceeded to slap an Air China sticker on my micro-fleece, with some force might I add, before shunting me on.
I felt like poor Bessie at market day.
After a frantic dash to down the escalator to international departures, I found myself stuck in the middle of a crowd of confused Chinese cattle dotted with those reddish Western snouts. Taking note of the situation, I deduced that we were being slowly filtered through a baggage check.
I quickly struck up conversation with a German couple who seemed equally bemused as to where on Earth we were supposed to be queuing, or more appropriately, what was going on. Ten minutes or so later after being frisked, in that awkward kind of fashion where employees pause and whisper in that disconcerting manner, I found myself setting a new Guinness World Record.
Never has a man ran so fast through Beijing’s Terminal 3.
Luckily, I managed to arrive with about 15 minutes to spare as there were a few stragglers behind me. After the mad dash and an escort in a transit vehicle, I emerged onto the tarmac amongst the dreary, smoggy and wet Beijing weather. Dashing up the stairs, I quickly exchanged pleasantries before taking a pew at my new home for the next 3 hours and 20 minutes: flight 16 L.