Not sure which you want to hear first, so I'll just give it to you chronologically. But not without apologizing that I have not yet figured a way to get photos from my iPhone to my PC - can't use Gmail, or iCloud photo sharing, or WhatsApp or Instagram. I'll figure something out.
So my tale of woe. It all started off so well in Vancouver. Five hours to get there, five hours to chill, then board the 10-hour flight to Beijing. Which should have led to the easy part: a 2-hr. wait and then a 2-hr. flight to Shenzhen. But Beijing is where it all went so horribly wrong.
Went to the domestic flights area and checked for my gate on the board. Uh-oh: Cancelled. Then I began a long series of episodes of lining up to get information. The first was at Air China. They rebooked me on the next flight in a few hours. But as I kept an eagle eye on the board, I saw that that one, too, was cancelled. Back to line up. So sorry, bad weather in Shenzhen, no flights out till morning. Go pick up your luggage and then rebook a new ticket. Over the next two hours, I lined up to go back through security, to be directed incorrectly to where I should pick up my bags, lining up only to find I needed to go to a different floor. By now the Vancouver luggage had been sent to Lost and Found. And when I went to claim it, there was clear consternation amongst the four staff who were attempting to understand my questions - only one fellow spoke a bit of English. They did have the suitcase with my clothes but, sorry, the bag with all 10 quilts was nowhere to be found in their computer system.
I admit I panicked and called my poor son in Beijing to try to get him to wrest information from them in Chinese, but after a lengthy wait, many phone calls, computer searches, and more, it turns out my bag had never left Ottawa. Not to worry, they said it would be on its way to Vancouver and then Beijing within a day. Not to worry, eh? I filled out all the requisite forms, had my passport photocopied and left to continue with waiting in packed queues with all the other stranded passengers. Hours of lining up to book the next ticket, to get a chit for a hotel, to wait for the shuttle got me to a hotel with hundreds of others for a full four hours of sleep but it was in a nice clean bed with crisp sheets and a shower, so I was up at 3am to shower and get ready for the shuttle to go back to the airport. I lined up (are we seeing a theme here?) to check my bag, and then first to line up for a boarding pass check, then to line up for security, then to do the walk to what I thought would be the gate, only to line up for the shuttle to the plane. But the good news is, I made it on the flight and arrived in Beijing a little bleary-eyed but happy to have made it to my destination.
I was met by a delightful driver, Li Weh and we used a speaking translator app to converse. Very handy if not always accurate. We got to the hotel and the rest of the day disappeared in a blur of reconnnecting with old friends from Beijing - Mr. Kane, who is the Secretary General of the CFCA (China Fashion & Colour Association)(and who is pictured below), Miss Szu-sha, and my fellow artists, Yuanshan Jin (China), Lin Hsin-Chen (Taiwan) and Rosie Chan (Singapore). It was old home week.
The festivities began in earnest - a luncheon banquet followed almost immediately by an evening banquet, so incredible dishes were brought to the table in endless succession, many glasses of wine were poured, the conversation was lively... well, let me tell the story in pictures. And in my next post, I'll tell you what happened with my quilts.
(I think in TV-land they call that a cliff-hanger).