While watching the Skymap I suddenly noticed that, for some strange reason, the destination had changed from Shanghai to Beijing, and the time left had dropped to one and a half hours. Strange, as we aren’t due to visit Beijing until later in the holiday.
Just then, one of the flight attendants made an announcement over the PA (in Chinese, followed by English) that because a typhoon had hit Shanghai we were being diverted to Beijing until the storm abated. Obviously they couldn’t tell us how long it would be.
We disembarked the aircraft into a wall of heat and humidity as we came down the steps of the plane and boarded the little bus which would take us to the terminal, still airside. There wasn’t a lot we could do but wait. It was a good job we were allowed off the aircraft into the passenger lounge, as it was much more comfortable. We hoped we wouldn’t have to wait for long as it would be eating into our holiday time. 🙁
In the meantime, Robert the rep came and told everyone he was trying to get priority given to our plane, but it was up to ATC how they scheduled the flights.
We therefore bought a can of Tsing Tao beer in the little convenience shop and just sat and waited it out. We watched the departure board that said we should be able to get back on our plane in about half an hour, and once again be on our way.
So we carried on waiting, feeling tired and grubby after our overnight flight. After the half hour was up, the departure board then said we had an hour to wait! 🙁
To cut a long and extremely boring story short, we ended up hanging around at Beijing for six hours before our flight was able to take off and continue its journey into Shanghai.
We were offered another meal on the plane… you’ve guessed it… chicken or pork with rice or noodles. Because it was an internal flight there was no wine served, just the ubiquitous Tsing Tao beer. I was completely knackered by then and determined to find a comfortable position for sleeping, but was annoyed to find that my inflatable neck pillow had a puncture.
So it was a tired, dishevelled and slightly disgruntled group of Brits who eventually got off the aircraft and onto the shuttle bus, for our ride to the Greenland Jiulong Hotel. We should have been having a meal at the hotel followed by a tour of the city, but that idea had gone out of the window as it was nearly 11.00pm when we arrived at the hotel, which did seem to be very good. Our bedroom was on the 14th floor and we collapsed into bed thankfully, for our first night spent on Chinese soil. I did manage to have a small bottle of Prosecco (bought at Heathrow Airport) before falling asleep.
So began the great Chinese adventure.