Saturday, April 21, 2012

The never ending trip

April 21—leaving Hong Kong--the first attempt

After the first good night’s sleep (we had a double bed, instead of sharing a twin bed!) we left for the airport at 7:20am. At the airport we learned that our flight out of Hong Kong was delayed by 5 hours. Of course, we had to stand in line for an hour, only to find out that by the time we arrive in Newark tonight (and clear customs and immigration for our adopted children) we will have missed the last flight to Rochester. Great. Just great. The United representative offered us no alternatives, and I had to push hard to even get him to check for flights and times for other airlines, and/or alternate routes. My laptop wouldn’t connect to the wi-fi for some reason, and so I couldn’t even tell him exactly what it was that I wanted. Later, when I found a pubic computer available for use, I saw that we could have been moved to a Cathey Pacific flight instead. However, it was already too late by the time I saw it online. Really, this trip is no fun at all. DangTong (Leo) is still acts like a feral cat. He rubs up against us, loving and purring and begging for attention, then suddenly he scratches or hits. His behavior is a good indicator of the quality (or lack thereof) of his orphanage. Last night, John showed Leo the bruises on my arm (from where he has pinched me) and he did act guilty and remorseful. So we have hope that with lots of love, consistency, and attention we will be able to help him heal.

It’s 10 hours later now, and we are STILL just sitting in the airport. We are now waiting for a bus to take us to the Hyatt Regency Shatin (45 minutes from the airport). Yep, our flight was delayed for five hours, then it was canceled entirely. We waited in line at the United Airlines counter for another two hours, in order to be rescheduled for the flight tomorrow. The only good thing I can say about Hong Kong airport is that they have regular toilets!! I’m thrilled that I don’t have to hold our five year old child over the squatty potty anymore. United was NOT at ALL helpful. We’ve received no compensation for our delay, or sympathy; we are lucky they are putting us up in a hotel 45 min away, I guess. As we waited in line, we watched platters of dumplings and other food being wheeled past us, into the lounge. We were not offered any food, drink, or even a comfortable waiting area. Our children sat on the dirty floor, waiting for hours. Sam said several times, in both English and Chinese, “Let’s go.” He also told everyone within earshot that he was HUNGRY. We didn’t dare leave the line to seek out lunch, and breakfast was at 7am! Our rescheduled flight is at 7:30am tomorrow (Sunday), which means we get to leave the hotel at 5am. After receiving our hotel vouchers and bus tickets, we had to wait in line for another hour to go back through immigration, fill out arrival forms (again), and wait to reclaim our baggage. Then we had to walk (what seemed like) another mile to get to the area where we had to wait for the bus to take us to the hotel. Again, we were afraid to go find food because we didn’t want to miss the bus. No one from United would give us (in English or Chinese) any information. We (all the passengers from the canceled flight) were shuffled around like unsuspecting cattle, heading to the slaughter.

DangTong (Leo) still refused to take off his jacket, and he was hot and sweaty during this entire ordeal. As we headed through customs (again) an airline personnel took Leo’s temperature. I was crossing my fingers that we wouldn’t be placed in a medical quarantine! Our poor guy is from Daqing (two hours outside of Harbin) where it’s bitter cold, so he’s used to wearing many layers all the time. We can’t convince him that it’s ok to take off his jacket/sweater/shirt/long underwear, even when sweat is just pouring down his face. Every morning he dresses in his layers, and we don’t want to fight with him over clothes. We just hope Leo will eventual mimic the other children and dress for the warmer weather.

As I write this, we are now sitting in a meeting room on the 24th floor of the Hyatt Shatin. Apparently, United Airlines sent twenty of us to this hotel, without confirming it with the hotel first, and there are no rooms available. The Hyatt staff brought us orange juice and water, but it’s 6:30pm now, and our children have had only a few apples and candy since breakfast at 4am. I didn’t pack much food, since we were stuck in the airport yesterday, and were supposed to be flying all day, with meals provided. Fortunately, since the hotel reserves the “family suites” for large groups, we were one of the first of our “layover group” to actually get assigned a room!!  A bunch of other people weren’t as lucky. After not eating all day, we ran at the dinner buffet by 7:30pm, and it was one of the nicest buffets I’ve ever seen. Rooms full of food, of all types, and the children ate a ton. During dinner, Leo was playing with his water glass and Sam told him in English “No.” Leo responded, in English, “Be nice.” Lol. We let the kids swim for 30 minutes (Leo still won’t go near the pool), and we put them to bed by 9:30pm. We have a 4am wake-up call and a 5am bus to catch.