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04 December 2007 @ 03:20 pm
So I'm finally back in the US and free from having to rely on a proxy for internet use! Whoo!

So I managed to find some stuff to do on my last weekend. Saturday I went shopping with some other students and then got a massage, which was pretty awesome, and then Sunday, I spent some time with Denise's cousin and his girlfriend (getting a home-cooked meal out of the deal), and then went out for one last round of bar-hopping with the remaining guys.

The last day I spent mostly relaxing in the morning since I got my packing done the day before, except for my laptop. Once Carey packed up all her computer stuff I couldn't access the internet before so I decided to pack that up pretty early. I ended up not having a lot of RMB left over to buy very much, so I decided to get a really filling lunch at this place that specializes in Wighur (Xinjiang) food, and had a lot of lamb, noodles, and bread, all spicy somehow, but delicious, a satisfying last meal in China. But then, I turned my room key and laundry key back and got 220 yuan back. Damn, I should have done that BEFORE lunch!

BNU gave us a bus for all 5 of us leaving that day, so we got to the airport easily with no problem. Checking in and getting through the whole departure procedure was really smooth and easy, I even got to click the "really satisfied" button again on the console in front of the guy inspecting my passport and stuff to rate his service. To spend some last minute RMB, I got some strawberry pastry cookies to give to the family upon arrival.

Of course, the part I least like about traveling between the US and Asia is the half-day-long plane ride, but I actually managed to sleep through most of it, which helped a lot. The plane ride was uneventful, but then when I touched down in Newark, I had to deal with the ultimate nightmare: American service people.

People in Newark just seemed like they were TRYING to be as not courteous or helpful as possible. So I got to Newark a little late, and when I was in the customs line, I noticed my connecting flight was boarding in 20 minutes. I tried to ask someone in uniform to see if they could help me, and as soon as I told them when my flight was boarding, the both of them I asked were like "NOPE, TOO LATE!" Not even an "I'm sorry," or any attempt to be more helpful. So I had to get my stuff through customs, get my bags, and then re-transfer my stuff. The person who was helping me change my ticket was helpful enough, she got me on a flight to Ft. Lauderdale, but then she decides to TAKE HER SWEET TIME PUTTING THE TAGS ON MY LUGGAGE WHILE SHE'S TALKING TO SOMEBODY WITH HER. ARRRRGH. Be efficient, people, especially when you just put the person your serving on a flight that departs in 45 minutes. So yeah, that irritated me, and then, I had to go through security, AGAIN. I tried explaining my situation to the person in front of the entrance to the line, she just said "RUN, RUN!"

Instead of just saying "There's nobody in line, so it shouldn't take too long, and the gate is right there, sir" she told me to RUN.

So I did. I ran to my flight, and got on with a little time to spare, but I was not in the best of moods. I don't care if I'm only 19, I'm a fucking customer and you don't tell me to RUN. I mean, I'd expect that in China when they're probably paid by the government and it doesn't matter how well they do their job, but no, people in China are actually polite. Shit, I bet in Japan they'd have delayed the flight, they are THAT polite.

So I passed that flight with no event, but then when I got to Ft. Lauderdale and met my dad, I found out that I only got ONE of my two checked baggages. Terrific. But luckily they found the tag number and I filed a claim, so hopefully it turns up in a few days because that bag had a lot of souvenirs I bought, plus my camera.

Oh well, now I'm home, and just glad to no longer be traveling or in need of completing any academic requirements for anything for a while. I can just relax, and believe me, relaxing is my number one priority right now. That, and getting back in shape. I'll post a little more on my thoughts later, because now I'm just exhausted.
(Anonymous) on December 4th, 2007 02:35 pm (UTC)
Welcome Home!
We are so glad to have you back, and glad that with the great distances you have traveled, you have had relatively minor problems. However, I have so enjoyed reading your postings that I hope you will keep doing something similar while you are in the States. Especially now that you have quite a bit of experience in Asia, I am sure you will begin to see things in the States through a different light. I am sure your comments will be interesting.
(Anonymous) on December 4th, 2007 04:59 pm (UTC)
After the fact wisdom
NEVER put cameras, jewelry, computer gadgets, video games, or other valuables inside suitcases that are checked in with an airline. Even if you get your bag back, it can be opened along the way by dishonest security or airline personnel, who remove and steal such things of value. Always carry such valuable items on your person inside the plane.