October 13-14, 2017:
We made it home in one piece, no missing luggage to report! Our flight left at 1pm from Shanghai on Friday, October 13th. We left the hotel at 9am and arrived at the airport for 10am. Again, there was security immediately upon walking through the doors to the airport and then another two times before we were in the secure area.
By the time we were in the secure area, we had less than an hour until boarding for our flight began. I was able to request an aisle seat for this flight – I like to be able to get up and move around without inconveniencing my seatmates. This flight was substantially less booked than our initial flight to China and my dad and I were lucky to have an empty seat between us!
Our flight home was around 10 hours. Instead of flying through western Russia, around the Bering Strait and down the entire West Coast, this flight went over Japan, over the ocean then down the West Coast starting from around Seattle. My plan to stay up late the last couple of nights and be tired for the first part of our flight worked perfectly! I was asleep before we left the ground and slept for the first four hours of the flight. I purchased an eye mask before our trip and I’m so glad that I did! Again, we had two meals served on the flight: the first meal was a choice of pork and noodles or chicken and rice along with a “salad” (it was a very strange salad) and a hot roll; the second meal was a choice of chicken and noodles or octopus(!) and rice along with another hot roll, yogurt cup and cookies. For this whole trip, I’ve managed to eat a minimal amount of rice, particularly after my first flight experience. I found the noodle dishes palatable. My dad opted for the octopus and rice and – although I find this hard to believe – he said it was good.
I’m not going to lie, time zones confuse me. Our flight left Shanghai at 1pm and we landed at LAX at 10am on the same day! We also got to see the Hollywood sign from the air so that was an added bonus. After landing, we went through security and claimed our luggage. From here, our group exchanged contact information and went our separate ways. I was sad to see everyone go!
My dad and I will be staying in LA overnight then catching our flight home in the morning. I booked a hotel close to the airport and we ended up having to take a $20 cab because they didn’t have shuttle service. Note: if you have an overnight layover, book a hotel with airport shuttle service! Our LA hotel is a bit of a wake-up call compared to the beautiful hotels in China! I would give it about 2 stars. But, the room is newly finished, clean and has beds – which is all I really cared about by that time! They also let us check-in early at no extra cost.
After a nice long nap, my dad and I walked to a local restaurant and indulged in a classic American cheeseburger and fries. I’ve already put in an order with my husband for pizza when we finally get home tomorrow!
We managed to get some sleep over night – I haven’t been feeling the effects of jet lag too much yet. We were up early and back at LAX for our 8:45am flight to Calgary before our last connecting flight to Regina. Unfortunately for my dad, he will be driving back to Warman after landing in Regina so it’s a long day for him!
We went through Customs once we landed in Calgary. The limit is $800 in duty free goods for Canadians gone for a week or more. We had also had to claim our goods that are being shipped to us separately. As I had $1,000 in goods with me, I was technically $200 over the limit but wasn’t required to pay extra. We’ll see if I end up paying duty once my silk bedding arrives!
The jet lag started kicking in on Saturday night. I’m normally a night person and was in bed by 11pm and up at 6am for a couple hours. Then I went back to bed until 4pm and fell asleep periodically throughout the evening before going back to bed around 1:30am for the night. I dragged myself out of bed for work on Monday morning but ended up taking an early evening nap later on. By Tuesday, my sleep routine was back in place and I felt back to normal, although I am having some early symptoms of a sinus cold and my rings are still feeling tight on my fingers.
Now that it’s been a couple days since we got home, life is back to normal and the whole China trip feels like a dream! It’s hard to believe that less than a week ago we were on the Great Wall and cruising down the Suzhou Canals. This really was an experience of a lifetime!
Thank you for following along with me and my travels. I hope your trip to China in April 2018 is just as rewarding and memorable!