April Fools DAy

On April 1, we flew from Kunming to Dali. Our thirty-five minute flight left at 7:10 am, which was the start of the joke, because we had only arrived in Kunming at about 6:00 pm the night before. That was the flight from Yangshuo whose departure had been changed from 1530 pm to 1455 pm, only when we arrived at the airport 1300 the flight was back to 1530. It must have been April 1 somewhere by then.

At any rate, to make our flight we had to get up at 400 am. Our instant guide arranged for us to get “doggy bag” breakfasts from the hotel because we were leaving before breakfast started. My carry-out box contained a cup of yoghurt, an apple, a hard boiled egg, a piece of chinese bologna sealed in a plastic skin, and two egg and mystery meat sandwiches on white bread. (Note that Julia, who can eat the stuff, got only one egg and mystery meat sandwich in her box.)

The drive to the airport was eventful, as the whole center of Kunming seems to be under construction, there are no signs indicating changes in traffic patterns and even the drivers don’t exactly know where they are going. So much so that we pull out of the hotel onto the freeway at 530 am, only to be immediately snarled in traffic. Our intrepid driver, along with several others, makes a U-TURN ON THE FREEWAY and starts traveling the WRONG WAY ON A LIMITED ACCESS HIGHWAY!

Due to our wrong-way trip on the freeway and then a meander around the rearranged streets we arrived a bit late at the airport. At checkin my luggage is 2K overweight, but instant guide smiles at the counter girl and she lets it pass. I rushed through the security check, with Julia behind. The security gal picks up her backpack and points “knife.” What? My brain is thinking: Did you forget to pack the knife in your checked baggage?

What knife? There’s no knife in there! “Knife.” insists the TSA-equivalency unit. She watches while Julia takes everything out of her carry-on. We can’t find the knife. Finally, TSA girl takes all the various small packages and puts them in a bin, and takes the bin and the backpack and says she’ll run them through again so we can find the “knife.” Of course, the scan comes through clean. “So sorry. No knife.” And we fly away to Dali.

Our Dali hotel turns out to be something out of Disneyland. Really beautiful reproduction of some Bai courtyard houses. Our room is on the second floor of the third courtyard and it overlooks the hotel courtyard and bar. By the time we checked in, we had been up since 400 am, been touring all over the Dali sights and were beat. And starting at 1900? Bad karaoke. REALLY BAD KARAOKE. Thankfully he – it was only one guy singing one bad song after another badly – stopped by around 2100, and we were able to go to sleep.

April 1 is a distant memory, NOT!


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