All those questions kept my mind on the 13 hours flight and I almost forgotten how long it was. As I was leaving the plane the same flight attendant was standing by the door saying ‘Goodbye Mr. Ng” with an amused smile.
I was little surprise and happy to see my luggage came out at the carousel. When I was waiting in one of the many lines at the China custom, I was thinking about the other Alfred Ng because with my new seat was at the different part of the plane and did not see him again during the flight. I was wondering if I will run into him again and then I heard a voice describing our story, I turn around and the other Alfred Ng was right behind me! We smile at each other and agreed we should buy a lotto ticket when we get home.
I found Rong was patiently waiting for me. He has been there for four hours! I was told I only had less than 50 minutes to catch my flight to Qingdao and we ran for the shuttle bus to another terminal which took about 15 minutes.
Finally, we reached to the security checking point with all my bags and I stopped. I told Rong I need to check in one of my bag as it will not able to clear security. I had packed half of my bag full of bottles of Canadian Maple Syrup for my friend Michael and it will not be allowed on the plane!
Rong said calmly, “Give them to me I will sent them to Michael”. I empty all except two small bottles and gave them to him.
Still, I must spend the next half an hour having my bag scanned and examined by the security and they took my tiny bottle water which I had kept in my jacket, contact lenses solution and my two Xacto knives. I was little upset with the lost of my Xacto knife because they were part of my art making kit I needed for my stay in China. Each time they discovered something was not allowed from my bag. The bag needed to go pass the scanner once again without the offending objects. I was getting more and more worry of missing my flight. Would I make it with this delay? They were really puzzle with the tiny bottle of Maple Syrup and wasn’t sure if they should take it away from me or not.
Finally, I was clear and free to go and even allowed to keep my tiny 100 ml of maple syrup after they open and pass the smell test.( they had miss my other bottle in a smaller bag)!
I ran to the gate and realized the plane had already finished boarding. A very nice flight attendant had exchanged few words with the gate attendant to allow me on broad, he even carry my large bag to the end of the plane and placed on a seat.
The flight from Beijing to Qingdao was only an hour and half, shortly it landed and I was off the plane with all my bags.
I was looking forward to see Michael smiling face at the exit but he was nowhere in sight!
Disappointed, I parked my bags at the seating area and wait. Thinking perhaps he got caught in the traffic or working late.
I must have waited for 45 minutes, seeing all passengers from my flight had left and I was the only passenger left but still no sight of Michael. I decided I need to call him but I don’t own a cell phone or own a local calling card. I saw a couple of cleaners hanging around the pay phone area and approached them with my limited Mandarin and explained I need to call my friend and not know how to use the phone. One female cleaner spring into action, she used her card to actives the phone and started dialing Michael’s numbers. She told me to sit by the bags and once the phone connected she will call me over. Finally she reached Michael but as soon as I pick up the phone he already hang up.
(Michael does not speak Chinese and not understand what she was saying.)
However, the nice cleaning lady did not give up she keep dealing and this time with me standing by her side. I finally reached Michael and he been waiting at the different part of the terminal!