On Our Way to China


This post was originally published in 2007
It may contain stale & outdated information. Or it may have grown more awesome with age, like the author.

Before this I had flown from Christchurch to Wellington. Granted, I flew all by myself at the age of 7, but it was still only about 2 hours. Actually I don't remember how long it was at all, just that I liked it a lot. Flying to Singapore from AKL promised to be somewhat different, and it was. Take off was, and always will be, awesome. Planes are great, and fun to ride. Shame tickets are so expensive. The flight itself was fine, although long. My worries that we'd have nothing to do were unfounded. A few minutes after take off we were given headphones to use with the LCD screens embedded in the seats in front of us. We had about 80 channels of video, some games or audio to choose from. There was also a channel that gave information about the flight, the speed of the plane, a map that was updated every second showing our current position, and other information. The staff were what you'd imagine from the advertisements, unlike most 'real' versions of ads. They were immaculately well presented, polite and helpful. They exuded an aura of calm and control, which I'm sure would be reassuring to those that can't understand how safe modern airlines are. Yvonne was uncomfortable for most of the flight apparently, though SHE was able to sleep. I couldn't sleep because seats are for sitting not sleeping. I sat and watched TV or listened to music. At about hour 7 I felt sick but walking around for a little while fixed that. Landing was about 50% as much fun as taking off. I was glad to find that no-one had replaced our luggage with drugs, as this would have resulted in a swift hanging. Soon after we arrived I demanded to be fed. I have provided 2 photos as evidence that I was. The sausages were terrible. The toast was good, but I mean... it's toast, not rockets. I made Yvonne drink at least half of that water bottle, as the air conditioning on the plane must be 0% humidity. While eating I told Yvonne all about how driving is more dangerous than flying, and the reason why people are more afraid of flying is because if you crash a car, you might die, though crashes are more common; while if you crash a plane, you WILL die, though crashes are less common. Certain death is always more frightening than possible death, hence the misconception that flying is more dangerous. Yvonne bought some eyeshadow because she needed to have that "in between shade" between black and grey - I'm sure you know the one to calm her nerves. I saw some guards who had MP5s. You can't really see the guns clearly in the photos, because I wasn't allowed to get any closer to them. Departing from Singapore was hassle-free. The flight to China was about 5 hours. This time I had a window seat. I looked out the window for most of the flight, and saw a lot of blinding cloud. The coolest thing I saw was a mountain rising above the cloud. Like an island in a sea of cloud. Cloud, there I used that word four times in the same number of sentences - I'm a literary genius. Chinese customs had two groups of lines, one for nationals, one for foreigners. Obviously, Yvonne went through the nationals line, and I through the other. My line was slow. The customs official was fast and efficient though, it wasn't their fault - there were just a lot more foreigners coming into China than nationals. On the desk in front of the officer there was a feedback unit, which consisted of a box with four buttons set in it. The buttons had faces on, smiley, not-so-smiley, unimpressed and unhappy. I pressed the smiley, because the guards were watching me and I didn't want to "give them a reason". There were no guards with guns at Pudong airport, though Yvonne and I agree that there must be a room (rooms) close by that contains 30-50 soldiers standing at attention, watching propaganda films and listening to Mao speeches. I saw Yvonne's dad first, though as I said nothing I have no evidence of this. That is all for now, I've just been informed that I must eat breakfast this instant.
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