The day before I left Daqingshan.
The last days at Daqingshan we were all really looking forward to the future. I took a walk up to the Moon Pagoda and thought back to the first time I made this walk. Only this time, I took more in. I listened to the crickets that were singing in the grass, to the butterflies that almost effortlessly wonder through the air, the smell of the freshly cut grass. The crunshing of the sand under my shoes. The stray goat on one of the rocks. The monk, who probably tells me something profound like “It’s a nice day isn’t it?” (Note: Need to learn Chinese) But, no holding back. This time I really made the hanging bridge swing to its maximum amplitude. I also carefully stay away from the rock where Alyssa and me got “nettled”.
Once I got up to the pagoda I thought back to the good time I had here, on the many people I got to know, and that I would love to do three months on the mountain again. During the last few days Master Chen told us some more Taiji secrets with the stretching of the hands, and the spiralling of the forearm without turning the whole arm. (Bit hard to explain something that is more open to visual explanation) Its amazing how the last few days of our stay we picked up some valuable clues of how to do the form.
The day we left was an anticlimax. We were all really quiet on the bus ride into Qingdao. Anticipation on the one hand, and maybe not knowing how to behave when we say goodbye to someone on the other hand. Anyway, we got to Qingdao airport (a sizeable airport with domestic and international departures/arrivals, and offers a small variety of shops inside and out) at around 10am. When you have your boarding pass, you can walk in and out of the transit area without any problems. You just can take any fluids in with you.
As it happened, my flight was delayed and thus I missed my connection flight to Sydney in Shanghai. Ah well, I was glad to get into Shanghai at least. China Eastern had delayed my 17:40 flight to 21:40, but decides to rebook me on another airline. As I get the ticket (at around 17:00) I notice that boarding starts at 17:25. I took me a good 15 minutes to get my luggage back from Eastern, and then I ran over to the new airline. There I was told my luggage was overweight by 7kg’s and I would have to pay 78 yuan!!. Anyway, its now 17:25, I pay the fee and went to the transit area. And low an behold, the sign at the gate said the flight had checked in and was closed (???!!!) (Expletive) So, I get back outside, go to the counter, and tell them that the flight has closed. The steward looks puzzled at me and says the flight is delayed to 17:50. I told him that is what the monitor showed. Anyway, note to self: Don’t always believe what you read up on the monitors, ask someone. So, return to the transit area, and the monitor says: “Flight boarding at 18:10.” So, I ask them when the boarding will start, and am told it is 18:35. Simple!!
18:35, I board on Juneyao airlines. All seats in redish purple, the stewardesses in dark purple and dark red, a splash of colour. Seafood for dinner. Nice!!
20:15, landed in Shanghai. I collect my luggage and wonder of to an Eastern China desk. They refer me to another desk, and send me into the wrong direction. I return and get the right directions. (Note to self: I may have to do things twice in this place) As my Sydney flight is now well and truly gone, I am booked in for the flight the next day. I also get booked in at the airport hotel (level 2, exit door 3). I goto level 2, exit door 3 and am staring at a parking lot. I ask one of the guys (who work here) that hang around the exit door where the airport hotel is. They send me down to level 1 where someone wants to sell me a hotel room in Shanghai central. So, back up to Eastern China Airlines where I am told just to walk past the car park as the airport hotel is on the other side. So done.
I get to the airport hotel, try to book in, and am told that there is no booking for me. “Do you have a piece of paper?” “No, I haven’t” “Your name doesn’t come up for a booking” So, return to Eastern Airlines where I am told to just mention that my flight was delayed and thus that I missed my connection flight. Back to the hotel. “No, we don’t know anything about that” This time I’m not moving, and insist I get a room, I don’t care how they organise it. They ring Eastern China airlines and eventually I end up in room 8842 with a round (?) bed.
From the peace and tranquility of Daqingshan back to the rest of the world. Ah, TIC.