It must be those rose-tinted glasses in duty free that make me forget on the flight home about all the irritations and annoyances of the preceding few weeks of Chinese summer camp. Instead, by the time I land, I seem only to remember the amazing time I have had and the fantastic experience I have been a part of. And so when January comes around and we are asked to apply for the next year’s programme, I can’t resist. The result? Here I am again in Beijing, about to embark on another English Language summer school.
How quickly it all came flooding back to me.
To be fair, my troubles started before I even got through security at Newcastle, where I found myself in an altercation at security about contact lens solution: he won, I lost my (less than half full) bottle of solution. The 9 hour flight from Paris was a particularly hot and sweaty affair and I managed only about 15 minutes sleep. My mood was not helped by being penned in by two strangers who slept the entire journey, meaning I couldn’t even get up to wander. Note to self: why insist on a window seat on a night flight?
Arrival was typically chaotic. Not the airport – that as you can imagine runs very efficiently – but the chaos of collecting 40 people from two flights coming into two different terminals, and transporting them and approximately 80 pieces of luggage (we need lots of resources…) to the hotel. Entertainment was provided watching our cases being squeezed into the “luggage bus” (essentially a people carrier without the seats). We waved goodbye to our luggage, wondering if we would ever see it again. Thankfully we were all reunited at the hotel: current condition of luggage bus unknown, but the prognosis can’t be good.
Transfer time between landing and check in to hotel: three and a half hours. Oh, it’s good to be back!