Based in Houston, Texas, GEV is a blog by The GreenEyed Venuist. Her posts explore travel and photography through her green eyes.

The Week of 1,000 Planes

People keep asking me, "What was your favorite part about visiting China?". There were so many highlights...I haven't actually decided yet.

But, I'll tell you my least favorite part....so. many. planes. 

I previously wrote a post about my love for planes and in general, that has not changed. However, after the last two weeks, I will be happy if I don't see another Boeing 737 for a while. 

Let's start with the night before the trip. Keep in mind that I live in Houston but my flight to Beijing departed from San Francisco. Sidenote: I've got an airline hook up so on Thursday morning I flew standby IAH - SFO with no problems and picked up my dear sweet cousin for the Beijing flight.  The night before I was a smidge freaked out when I walked into the house and my dad said, "doesn't look good to SFO tomorrow, Toots (that's his nickname for me). You might need to try to leave tonight". This was at around 7:48pm, I had packed nothing and was completely unprepared for a quick dash to the airport. The last flight left at 8:30pm and I never would have made it so...veto. In a panic, we searched for alternatives until an hour later when I finally decided to just get my life, pack and head to the airport early morning. I had 3 opportunities and you can't ever tell b/c the numbers are inaccurate. Fortunately, the smiling gate agent handed me a boarding pass almost immediately. Crisis averted. 

That's me and Cuzzo:

So:

Dec 2 

IAH-SFO (3.5 hours)

SFO-PEK (12 hours)

Not too bad...I read a book, chatted with my cousin, attempted to watch a movie, then I popped a pill and slept the rest of the way. Piece of cake. I also took these super dope pics from the plane.

Dec 6

PEK-XIY (<2 hours)

Also not a bad flight. We got a chance to catch up on some sleep (in previous days we climbed the great wall of China and did the most walking ever in life. I think the pedometer on my iPhone 6 said something like 19k steps that day). Cuzzo was next to a chatty member of our tour group but I think he managed a few zzzzzs.

Dec 8

XIY-PVG (approximately 2 hours)

Again, a good chance to rest between full days of activity. We did so much on this trip...every night we basically passed out early as hell because we were exhausted and then were up at like 3:00am of the time difference (China is almost a full day ahead of Houston. I think the difference is like 16 hours). Plus, I'm of the strong belief that flights are made for sleeping. There's hardly a time I can remember that I wasn't asleep before the plane took off. It's a gift. Anyway, these quick flights were a welcomed respite. Also, my cousin thought the Chinese had rivers flowing with gold...check this pic from his window seat lol.

Dec 11

PVG-PEK (2 hours)

PEK-SFO (12 hours)

SFO-LAX (<1 hour)

LAX-SFO (>1 hour)

Yeah...you read that right. On the last day of the trip, we had to get back to Beijing for our 4:00pm international flight to the US. We learned that the flight was delayed 4.5 hours as a result of bad weather (this will be important in a sec). Fortunately, we met a guy who had a friend in common with my cousin (random...I  know) who snuck us into the Air China lounge...fun times. So at 8:30pm on a Thursday we depart PEK... and we arrive to SFO at 4:00pm on Thursday (Two Thursdays...I time traveled). Everyone missed every connection they could ever have scheduled. United made special arrangements for the delayed Air China flight passengers to skip the line and get reassigned then sprint thru the airport to catch other flights. 

Well, remember I said the weather was bad in SFO...apparently it was so bad that it ruined all the flights for that day, everyone missed connections and the airport was too turnt up. 

Also...remember I said I had flown standby to SFO...that means I also had to fly standby back home. I swear....standby can be the best and the worst thing. You can fly across the world in first class for next to nothing or you can be stuck places for days at a time. 

So, I'm looking at the flights with my Dad and we decide I should take the short flight to LAX and hop on the next thing smoking to IAH. Welp, this flight was delayed leaving SFO...so I missed the connection in LAX. I've never experienced so many delays!

We review the flights again and the next best option is to go back to SFO (O_o) and catch the red-eye home. I did that...but then the red-eye was over sold. By this time, my cousin had made it home and was sleeping soundly in his bed lol. 

I was forced to stay overnight in the airport for the first time ever. I don't want to say I slept in the airport because there was no sleeping. It's too open and bright and way too loud for sleep. I finished reading a great book that was recommended to me by a member of my inner circle. (Good lookin' out, Fal) 

I also want to interject that I anticipated being back in Houston December 11 and then flying to Harlingen the next day for a case I was handling. I thanked God when opposing counsel backed out of the mediation. 

Dec 12

SFO-IAH (3.5 hours)

Finally, the sassy gate agent handed me a boarding pass for the 6:00am flight back home. I could have kissed him right in the mouth. I was assigned a middle seat in United economy between to large men (the leg area and seat area is much smaller than normal) but I didn't even care. I passed out before the plane took off, they kept me warm and before I knew it...I was awakened by the wheels touching the ground in Houston. My bag was there waiting for me #wonthedoit

I've never been so happy to see my mom's SUV cut a corner.

I rushed home, showered and changed and made a short-lived appearance at the office. 

An hour later, some idiot ran into my car (that I've only had for one year)...welcome home, GEV.

Stay tuned for more adventures in China.

The Great Wall of China - Badaling Section

10 Things I Learned While Visiting China