After three long weeks in Thailand, we are so very happy to be home. We had one final doctors appointment on Tuesday, where the boys received another round of immunizations and clearance from the doctor to return home to China the following day.
We had 7:30 PM flight leaving Chiang Mai, but we were delayed by at least an hour. We didn't reach Kunming until around 11 PM and still had the task of finding a hotel where we could crash for a few hours before catching our 8 AM flight the next morning. We kind of set ourselves up for disaster by not making a reservation or even having a clue about local hotels, but with all the uncertainty surrounding our departure date, securing a place to lay our heads for some reason fell to the bottom of the priority list.
This is where the wonderful hand of God's providence intervened.
We had met a Chinese woman in the Chiang Mai airport who was just smitten with the boys. We ended up talking for a while, which was a good thing for my neglected-for-three-weeks Chinese. When she found out about our little Kunming predicament, she vowed to escort us to a nearby airport hotel when we arrived.
After passing through immigration, customs, and picking up our luggage, we exited the Kunming airport to find it pouring down rain. Our new friend's effort were not deterred by the inclement weather, and she solicited the help of a guy claiming to be an airport employee who offered to drive us to a nearby hotel. Though his casual t-shirt and jeans didn't really lend to his credibility as a legitimate airport worker, we were too tired to care and happily climbed in the back of his car.
Several phone calls and three hotels later, we finally found a place that had a room available. I was a little skeptical at first when I noticed their price listings had an hourly rental rate, but the clock was ticking until we had to return to the airport and all I wanted to do was unstrap the baby that had been attached to me for the past 6 hours and get some sleep. My anxieties immediately dissipated, however, when we were shown to our room, which ended up being decent enough.
6 AM came all too quickly, and we were back at the airport. While we were waiting for our flight to board (delayed again!), a flock of Chinese tourists descended on the boys, taking pictures of them, giving Micah candy for breakfast, and commenting on how much cuter one of our sons was than the other. We finally boarded the plane, only to wait an additional hour. Apparently, there was a flight from Bangladesh carrying a few passengers who were supposed to be on our flight, and our plane was waiting for them. Having missed way too many connecting flights before, I thought this was an impressive gesture of customer service, but several other passengers did not feel the same way. People were screaming at the flight attendants, and we were pretty certain they were going to start throwing punches. One woman was marching up and down the aisle of the plane shouting, "If Hu JinTao (the president of China) was on this plane, we wouldn't be waiting!" and "Do only foreigners count as people? Chinese people are people too!" Tempers were assuaged when we finally took off.
Once we made it to Beijing, we still had an hour cab trek across town and a 90 minute train ride ahead of us. The new Shanghai-Beijing high speed magnet train stops in our city, and it has made travel so much more convenient. On this particular ride, the cars we practically empty, so Micah had the freedom to wander around and Sam had two seats to himself to lay out on.
Now we're back at home, doing our best to re-establish some routine to our lives. Yes, Thailand was great but there really is no place like home!