Leaving my bed in Plymouth on Tuesday at 6pm seemed to give me loads of time in hand for my journey, after all Snooks didn't have to be at Virgin Atlantic Freight until about 5:30 and then my flight wasn't until 10:30 that evening, loads of time right? Phew, didn't that time fly by.
The trip by train to London was uneventful as it was by train and usually in my experience theres little drama in travelling by train, although the blooming luggage and holding onto the dog and a coffee etc made boarding a bit of a trial.
Snooks guarding the luggage whilst we wait for the taxi in Plymouth
Getting to the Heathrow Express from the train at Paddington wasn't too much of a trail and soon we found ourselves at Terminal 3 at Heathrow. Into a taxi and off to the Virgin Atlantic freight warehouse. You would think that as it's on the airport it would be 'just around the corner. Well a 30 quid taxi drive later we arrived (yes £30!) but we were too early. We were told to come back at 5:30. I thought the agent had told me that I had to be there by 5:30. It was about 3 pm by then so we had a two and a half hour wait on the bench outside the depot.
Snooks enjoyed the wait playing for most of the time with her ball. I had fed her on the train as she had to have her last meal between 4 and 5 hours before drop off. Fortunatly during this wait she also had two poos, so she would have been an empty little dog on the plane.
At 5:30 we checked in and it all went smoothly, I put the t shirt I'd been waering for a couple of days into her box and she was all ready for her trip. She got water given her and apparently the plane captain adjusts the temperature and the lighting in the pet hold to make it more comfortable for the animals.
Snooks enjoying her ball at Virgin Atlantic
Snook in the box
So once Snooks was off, I was off back to Terminal 3, this time in a local cab, only £15! The guy at the Virgin depot said this was because the Black Cab drivers at the airport rank really want fares into the city so the charge a premium price for a local fare - blooming robbers!
Then it was the rigmarole of checking in, going through security and into the departure lounge. Where did all that precious time go? By the time I got in the departure lounge I had time to have a quick meal (all day veggie breakfast) a quick sit down, about 30 minutes and then the flight was called.
I was exhausted.
The flight to Hong Kong was as you might expect it to be on Cathay Pacific, pretty smooth and well organised.
I've got to admit by the time the food was served (veggie pasta, very nice) I was ready to try to get some sleep. The problem with the screen in the backrest of the seat in front of me was that it was just out of my focal range with both my glasses on or off and I couldn't be arsed to get out of my seat find my bag and find my reading/screen glasses.
I think I slept fitfully on and off for about 5 hours as one does on a plane until it was about 8 am (GMT) and they started to serve breakfast (Omelette, sausage, tomato, potato) and then we were descending into Hong Kong.
By the time we have disembarked the plane I had about 45 minutes for my connection to Nanjing, so I spent a stressful 15/20 minutes having to go through security again to access the connections lounges. Once again all metal off ones body, belt, watch, change etc in the box, laptop and electric goods in another box, 100ml liquids and coats and jackets in the next. So then I've got about 25 minutes to get to my gate. Gate Number 4. I entered the concorse at about gate 55. It took me a good 15 minutes of jogging with my bags to get to the gate. I'd barely got my breath back when we were boarding.
Back in the air we were fed again. Fish and rice this time. about 2.5 hours and we were in Nanjing
Through security and customs at Nanjing and I was soon in the car with Emma from the agency that employs me, by this time its about 10 pm in the evening. Ive slept about 5 hours since the past morning and we've moved forward in time about 8 hours.
So into my new apartment. I was just a bit concerned when Emma asked me in the car if I had bought sheets and blankets! Anyway by the time we got there a sheet and a blanket and pillow must have materialised on the bed.
(Snooks just turned up!) here she is, already comfy on my shirt (I used jets4pets.com)
So in my new flat I pottered around a bit until about 1am as really my brain was thinking it was about 5pm in the afternoon. Couldn't sleep. The building site opposite was working until 2am! Then I was hungry, then too cold because of the air con, then needed a wee, then couldn't sleep, I listened to a couple of pod casts slept for about 30 minutes, then was wide awake till about 8am in the morning, I read a book, and kept trying to sleep. The at about 8 I dropped off for about 2 hours ish and thats all the sleep Ive had. (Its 20:17 the same day at the moment)
Anyway Ann the school vice director came over to take me to lunch at about 12 and then we made a little list of everything that was missing from this brand new flat. Things like wardrobes and drawers, cutlery, bowls, plates, sheets, blankets, quilt, pillows, rice cooker, toaster, iron, ironing board etc. Then we went out and bought them, with MY MONEY!!!!- hopefully it will be reimbursed.
Then a quick orientation, I met with the other teacher, Steven with whom I have lots of mutual expat friends. So neither of us are new to Nanjing.
This is my flat now:
Kitchen with all brand new appliances
Kettle, microwave, toaster, hotplate cooker thing and wok, rice cooker
Shower loo etc
Front room - where the single chair is will be my desk etc
air con and notice used at airport done by kids
Utility room with brand new washing machine and view
More view out of utility room
Bedroom with new quilt and cover and sheets, its a hard hard bed base tho.
Notice clothes current in cardboard boxes appliances came in
Hanging clothes awaiting wardrobes etc
View from Kitchen window into school grounds
So thats it for the moment, Im really tired and need to eat, although ones stomach gets jetlagged too. Its like WHY ARE YOU GIVING ME FOOD NOW!
But I've got Snooks here with me now so I don't care!!!
Catch you later