When I check in to my new flight I tell them about the bag situation. The man helping me sends someone to check, or at least that is the impression I am given. He tells me to check with Asiana to confirm the luggage gets transfered.
I head back to the Asiana line to find that it has been replaced by New Zealand Air. Asiana is nowhere to be found. The Tom Bradley International Terminal hosts more airlines than it has available check-in counters for. Airlines are constantly moving around. I do not feel good about this situation.
There is an information desk, but I don't think they will be very helpful. My guess is that they'll tell me I have to stop back later, but when knows when that will be. I decide to head through security and to my gate. The rules in security are different today. Everything stays in the bag. Shoes stay on feet. It goes much faster today.
There's a fancy sandwich shop which sells four inch sandwiches for the price of an eight inch Jimmy Johns sandwich. I think that's actually the slogan on their sign. It's difficult to tell.
I'm at Gate 155 for my China Airlines flight which is a fair hike from where I eat. Fortunately there is a nearby Starbucks and I supplement my meal with a slice of chocolate loaf and a venti new coconut milk mocha macchiato.
LAX has complimentary wifi which you can get in 45 minute increments. I use the time I have to write and update the china blog on my website.
We don't start boarding the plane until well after the scheduled boarding time. The plane is huge. It's a 777-300. There are five segments, seating eight to ten passengers across. I'm in row 63.
An Asian woman sits in the window seat, I'm on the aisle side, and there's no one in the seat between us. This gives us some space to stretch out and provides an extra blanket and pillow if we want to use it.
The takeoff is rough and we hit some rough turbulence at two points above the Pacific Ocean, but overall the trip is smooth and pleasant. I stay up until two or three in the morning, Minnesota time, before I'm really able to sleep. I sleep in short one hour intervals because even with the legroom, it's not comfortable. The headrests only come up to my shoulders.
It's after dark when we land in Taiwan. We're about 10 minutes behind schedule. The airport is fairly quiet. High end shops line the walkway, many are still open. It's about 9:00 at night. I check the signs to see where I'm headed. My plane leaves from Gate A7. We disembarked at D4, so I have some traveling to do.
The signs all have arrows and are easy to follow. They lead me to a stairs and then a tram. I continue to follow the blue and white signs hanging from the ceiling. There's a security checkpoint with a metal detector. It's not busy and I follow the instructions on the sign, but I get the feeling the people working don't really care.
I almost miss the sign for A7, because it's a small doorway leading downstairs. The stairway is wide and it goes down two or three floors. There's a glass and metal cylinder to the left of the stairs, a huge free-standing elevator of sorts.
The floor is green. The far wall is all windows, looking out into a dark world. The windows are dirty and reflect the interior of the large room. The smells reminds me of China.
A mural of mountains and hills covers the high far wall. I immediately get in the line that has formed. I was worried I might be a little late, but we have a good half hour or so before we leave and they haven't started boarding yet.
This plane is smaller and the flight is shorter. The interior is white with lavender seats. The entertainment system is old. I feel like I've been on a plane like this before. I sleep for a while on the plane, the flight is just under two hours long and the time goes by quickly.
We land and I make my way through immigration. My phone is acting up and won't connect to the wifi correctly. My iPod is working fine, so I figure I should reboot the iPhone. When I at last get online I text family and friends to let them know I've safely arrived.
It's after midnight when I get to the luggage carrousel. The luggage from our plane starts arriving and I am not optimistic. At 00:47 the message appears saying all luggage from CI0667 has been delivered. I have not seen mine yet.
The baggage information desk is mostly unmanned at this hour. I find someone to point me in the right direction. The Asiana Airlines lady tells me I need to talk to the China Airlines people. I don't think she understands my concern. I don't think they transfered my luggage to China Airlines. I just hope they didn't send it to the wrong airline.
Two ladies from China Airlines help me fill out some paperwork to recover my lost luggage. They tell me that Asiana doesn't know anything. I guess that they never transfered it.
Tony told me that the taxi ride to the hotel is probably $250-300 HKD. I have $340 in Hong Kong Dollars and am thinking I should get a little more, just in case. All the currency exchanges are closed, it's 1:30am.
Guess I'm winging it.
I show the lady at the taxi line the address on my phone. She yells to the first driver in Chinese. He opens the trunk and I put my two pieces of carry-on in the trunk.
The driver drives the way a 5-year-old might color. The lines, dotted or solid are more of an artistic guideline. Maybe even a mistake. Meant to be ignored. The driving reminds me of how I drive when I play Mario Kart. Fortunately traffic is light and it takes about 25 minutes to get to my destination. Total cost for the trip is $250HKD.
The hotel looks fancy, but in a hip youthful way. I make my way to the receptionist on the third floor using the stopped escalators as staircases. They check me in, I'm on floor 29, room 1.
I cautiously open the door to my small room. Jared is already there, sleeping. It looks like a single bed in the dim light coming from the window. I put my bags on the floor and lay down on the far edge of the bed. After a little while I'm fast asleep.