The day started off great with us heading off to the airport with enough time to get there way in advance. Traffic was so light that we got there in record time and had like 3 hours before the flight. So we find the place to check in luggage, and start entering stuff on the kiosk. That’s where things take a new turn. Immediately the kiosk is like “OMG NO!” and starts calling for assistance. Turns out our stay is so long it was a human to check that we have the proper visas. OK, cool I guess that makes sense. Guy comes over does his thing and we are all set. Then of course the kiosk runs out of paper on bag 5 of 8. Again we wait, and this nice lady helps us all out. she goes to another kiosk, prints the remaining three, and even helps us put the luggage tabs on the luggage, walks us over to the line to throw our baggage on the convener. And we still have plenty of time to spare.
Off to security, YAY! We wait in line, Liz regales us with he truncated version of WWII in her Outside voice in line. It’s kind of close to the truth, if a little out of order. We apparently defeated Germany, which pissed off Japan who then bombed us so we nuked them. All the type of conversation you should have in a security line; if you want a TSA agent sticking a finger in orifices you try not to think about. Awesome! So after yelling to the world about nuking Japan and bombs and stuff we finally get to the head of the line. I’m not sweating bullets of anything since I of course noticed all the agent perk up at the mention of nukes and bombs (who knows why). Now to cross the gauntlet of “let me check you passes bitches”. The lady checking passes gave her last flying f**k about 20 years ago, and I’m pretty sure she ran out of the other kinds about a decade after that. For the last five minutes she’s been yelling at anyone that walked up. Don’t have you passport on the proper page? that’s a tongue lashing. Don’t have your boarding pass ready to be presented? that’s a break out the tongue with the cat o’ nine tails tongue lashing. And for the last four people before us she’s screaming “One at a time, don’t come up here as a group, this ain’t no field trip.” So, I send out Liz first (always sacrifice the problem child first: don’t wanna be the sacrifice? maybe don’t yell about bombing shit in the security line…), Liz walks up, hands the lady the boarding pass and passport and then looks to us like, “now WTF am I supposed to do?” Lady with the attitude actually laughs and tells us all to come on up. Suddenly she’s in a pretty good mood. She even points out Liz came up with my passport, not her own. Oops! Turns out she’s really friendly unless your an adult acting like an idiot that can’t follow instructions. To bad that turns out to be 99% of the traffic coming through DFW.
Now the part of security I’ve been dreading. We have more electronic devices between the four of us than a small army has any right to. and It’s all gotta come out, be put in bins, and then packed back up. The girls are not adept at this and of course asking all sorts of questions as the line backs up. I’m like “Dude just go around folks, is it so damn hard to pick up you plastic bin and move around me then just shoving it into our bins over and over until we “take the hint” to run the security check point for your happy lazy ass?”. I really liked the rescue by a TSA lady from this one dude that was ramming Liz’s bin over and over, making hard for Liz to get anything in it, and frustrating the shit outta her and me. She looks at this guy and says. “You want to make your flight or sit in our special time out room till you learn how this works? Go around, or back off.” People stopped being dicks after that, well sort of. One guy still had to bump into Mina really hard because of the inconvenience to him. I noticed his bag was selected for a special search. So, we got all our crap into 10 bins, no really, just 10, I’m amazed. Go through security, grab our crap and start repacking the bags. If you are traveling with kids internationally NEVER let them have a blanket in there carry on. Hole-lee crap is it a nightmare to refold it and put it back so their backpack closes after going through security, and doing it twice is truly a PITA.
Now that we’ve made it through all that, we head to the gate to find it’s standing room only. Not cause the flight is beyond capacity, just that most of the waiting area is taken up by a store. Well, we have an hour till boarding, so we go get breakfast at Cantina Laredo that is right across from the gate. We shuffle in with our backpacks and stuff into a booth. Turns out four people plus four backpacks in a four person booth is a bit too much. We wait for ten minutes, and I’m thinking we should get up and leave to skip lunch when out waitress finally ordains to come get our order. She seems really put out about the whole thing too. We put in our drink order and our regular order at the same time. I-Ju and Mina share a chicken fajita omelet, I get the chirizo breakfast dish (to anyone ordering in DFW, don’t pick this option, it’s not a very good breakfast for the price, or at any price really. The chicken fajita omelet was much better) The whole ordeal is taking way longer than I want, until I-Ju points out that my internal clock is off by about 30 minutes and we have way more time than I thought. So we relax, eat. I have the girls go to the bathroom while I watch our stuff. I compliment the waitresses wrist tattoo when she comes by the clean up the table, and suddenly she goes from “eat shit and die you damn customers” to smiles and actually acting like our business is appreciated. Kind of wish I’d seen the tat at the beginning of the meal.
We find a place in the very back hidden behind the store to sit down, and it’s like 10 minutes until they start boarding. We get on and everything is going great. I-Ju has a window seat, I’ve got the isle there is a seat between us and the girls are right across the isle from us. (I-Ju and I aren’t sitting together because AA wanted to charge an extra $85 for I-Ju or I to sit in the middle between us than having a seat between us. This didn’t make much sense at first.) We are getting settled in when this bean pole Asian dude shows up, Hes about 6’5 or so? and has the seat between us. He’s all “You want to sit next to her?” I reply, Nah, we’re married so don’t need to sit next to each other.” I-Ju just laughs and he looks confused. So he get between us, and I’m sitting next tot he girls. Which means I’m on kid patrol the entire 19 hours of the flight. I got the short end of that stick. NOw, the entire row in front of us is empty, and the flight looks to be done filling up, no one’s come in for like 5 minutes. So I ask the guy, “Why not just move in front and you get three seats to yourself. TBH before he showed up I had been eyeing them to move the girls to. (easier to check what they are watching, and smack some heads. but this guy can have it. Not three minutes after he gets settle into the new seat three teenagers come strolling down the isle late as you please, and I’m like you have got to be F*ing kidding me. Nope go straight to the seats in front of us. Cause of course they do. Bean pole gets up and comes back to us. Yay!, well at least he’s about half as wide as me, can’t be too bad, right? Yeah, no. this guy is a professional seat hog, which makes for 19 hours of unadulterated hell.
So, this guy immediately takes both armrests as his own. and we are shoulder to shoulder. but any time I move or adjust or grab a book or anything, and suddenly he’s further in my seat. so we aren’t shoulder to shoulder, the ball of his shoulder is jabbing my shoulder blade, I’m like WTF dude? then his arms are hanging over the armrests, his elbow rubbing my sides. Pretty sure I had more physical contact with this ass hat on the flight than with I-Ju in the last month. I quickly learn leaning over a little isn’t an option, cause in he comes for more room, so then he’s putting weight on my sides, and not just rubbing them. Even so I spend most of my time leaning at least a little to the left out into the isle. Which is when I discovered every fight stewardess has wider hips than their cart. So they comes trundling along, and the cart misses me completely, and suddenly Bam hip-check to the shoulder. or they are backing up the cart, and Bam! butt-check to the shoulder. It’s hard to do anything while someone or another is ramming your shoulder, or pushing you from the right to hog the seat. To make things even more irritating, beanpole is so tall his head blocks my reading light. Which would have been fine if they hadn’t turned off all the light as soon as we were airborne, and kept them off til about an hour before landing. All in all beanpole made it a less than steller flight.
But the girls were good for the most part, they got antsy towards the end of the flight, but overall they didn’t argue the entire time they were there. Mina did drop her glasses on the floor in the isle a couple times, and at least one of those times someone nearly stepped on them, instead he picked them up and walked away with them. I-Ju saw this and I asked Mina where her glasses were. She made a big show of looking in her backpack and then giving me the “They are in my backpack, why are you bothering me attitude.” When the announcement that some blue reading glasses had been found would someone please claim them, Mina did not get the “aw you completely lied to me to my face how cute and wonderful reaction she was expecting.” When getting off the plane I told her four times to check everywhere, and make sure she had everything. Which I was told repeatedly everything was packed and there weren’t any issues. Of course when we went through security in Hong Kong it was pretty obvious that Mina had contributed her brand new kindle to the “Shit AA gets to sell because you left it on the plane and they want more profit” fund. So now we don’t have a kindle for homeschooling them, and no way to replace it. Mina is of course pissed at us for not being happy about her throwing away her electronics. We are such assholes sometimes.
The stay in the Hong Kong airport was uneventful. Liz got off the plane tired (both were tired, because they watched TV for 18 hours and slept as little as possible accutally) and with a tummy ache. She then wanted to play the “complain about how much my tummy hurts, but then get mad if my parents ask specific questions to see what’s the matter” game. After a few minutes of this we played the, “must not hurt that much then”, game. At security we went thorough the whole electronics out on the table thing again. Turns our other passengers and flight personnel are just as much dicks in Hong Kong as America. Although, my dumb ass children sitting down on the floor in front of the conveyor to empty out their backpacks make me think people should be dicks to them. I was like “Get off the damn floor and let people pass.” This is where we discovered Mina donated the kindle to AA. Once through the line Both kids sat on the floor AGAIN, instead of standing at the table with me and I-Ju. More yelling ensured.
*Important travel tip*: Hong Kong’s airport has two areas for each gate, and arrival gate, and a departures gate. The arrivals are downstairs, and only have a single bench to sit at. the departures are upstairs. The stairs are at either end of a concourse, so don’t go to the arrival gate and spend five minutes trying to figure out what’s going on only to walk all the way back down the concourse to go upstairs. Fun times.
Once at the gate Mina had to endure the following lectures: “We aren’t made of freaking money”, “When we ask you to do something, actually do it”, ” When we ask a question don’t lie to us just to get out of work.”, “Welcome to the none of your birthday presents will be over $10 until we think you can act like you aren’t three.” We ran out of time at that point and had to get on the plane. After laying against me during the wait Liz began to feel better, but she wanted to sit next to me on the plane. I knew this was not going to be fun, but I love me daughter so I said OK.
We got the entire middle of the plane this time, I-Ju on one end and me on the other. I-Ju wouldn’t let Mina take anything out of her backpack the entire trip. poor thing. Liz laid on me and went to sleep the entire trip. Unlike beanpole boy though she actually laid her head on my leg and didn’t try to push me into the aisle so it wasn’t too bad. The flight was supposed to be 1.5 hours. (we actually flew by Taipei to get to Hong Kong, and now we were just doubling back. (cause reasons) I read my book the entire flight, Detective Dee was in fine form you’ll be happy to know. Our pilot was more British than the freaking queen, which actually made listening to the announcement fun. So, he got us to Taipei in 45 minutes. (don’t ask, I don’t know how it was possible. I assume it had to do with a shit ton of beer and screaming for king and country at the top of his lungs) Now, most people on the plane were probably super excited, but I was like. “Meh our driver isn’t going to be there until our regular time anyway, so it just means we should get our shit and wait outside the airport for a while. Turns out Taiwan doesn’t do early. Or drunk pilots filling the radio waves with renditions on “everything was better under imperial rule” just pisses them off. Anyway we circled Taiwan for 30 minutes waiting for clearance, and then sat around 15 minutes on the ground waiting for our gate. Don’t use your magic empire flying powers unless you know it’ll gain you something dude.
We collect all our stuff, this time checking to make sure everyone has everything. Mina decides to go to the bathroom after they opened the plane doors and I-Ju lets her. Seriously people, WTH? So I’m watching the plane drain of people and watching the bathroom door wondering if Mina will make it on time. She pops the door open and this lady shoves her way in with her like three year old kids before Mina can get out, and then gets this irritated disgusted look when she has to exit back out so Mina doesn’t sit around watching her let her little girl pee. What did you expect trying to fit three people in a bathroom built for one, even if two of them are Halflings? Mina gets out, and gets back to us Just as the person in front of me steps off. Nice timing. So we get out, follow everyone to Go through security, I-Ju goes to do the remove all the electronics thing again, and everyone is like, nooooooo. I’m like we are leaving, they don’t care if shit explodes now. Customs, and good God what a line, we are going to be here all night. I-Ju ignores the line and just keeps walking. Finally she turn to the line that has just one person in front of it. Yeah like this is going to happen. Nope, we walk the f*ck up like we own the place, and they check our passport and let us through. Not sure what the schlups in the super long line are waiting on but have fun standing.
We get to the baggage claim. and I have I-Ju and Mina go grab three carts, I-Ju comes back with two carts and no Mina. She tells me Mina went to the bathroom. Didn’t she JUST go to the bathroom like less than five minutes ago? Great my kids had a coke habit. Screw it I’m too tired to worry about it at this point. Let’s get eight giant bags… Which are like the last dozen to come out for our flight, in fact bags from a later flight were coming out before ours finally came out and I was starting to worry they didn’t make it to Taiwan.
Peggy picks us up, joyous reunions for all and she brought bubble tea, Yes! OK out we go with the carts of luggage, and Peggy goes to the place she is supposed to meet our driver at. Some random douche shoves through our carts to stand in front of us. Our driver appears parks in front of us, and I start taking the luggage off the cart and onto the curb through captain douche bag of the 21 and a half century. He gives me a dirty look, but moves out of the way after nearly being knocked down a second time. Why did you think we were standing here? We get the luggage loaded, I learn when handing off 50 pound bags to make sure the driver has them in case he figured the fat guy couldn’t lift fifty pounds and cart it around like it’s a ten pound bag. I’m a father of two girls dude, I carry EVERYTHING. We jump in and it’s only a 2.5 hour drive to the house. I dose most of the way. but in that whole brain won’t shut up even though your sleeping sort of way so it’s not very restful. Willson pulls some crap in the back of the car and Peggy demands he hand over something. He pulls the you can’t reach me. and either she pulls the my flip-flop foo is far beyond your years OR the I got mom arms I can snatch something from behind me at mach 1 and dislocate your shoulder if you are stupid enough to hold on. Anyway Willson cries the next 1.5 hours wither way.
At some point I hear more crying, and I’m like, OK, who’s crying now? It’s not crying it’s Peggy trying to laugh quietly. Cause she just told I-Ju her dad bought a crate of durian, and it’s in the garage now. Of course he decided the house needed to smell like a Ren-fair porta-potty after three days, cause who doesn’t like the smell of fermented human feces in the morning? I tell I-Ju I’m sleeping with Peggy tonight, cause F******ck that noise. We get to the house and the garage smells pretty damn bad, but the rest of the house is OK. Cool I can deal. We haul in a single suitcase and take it upstairs to our rooms on the 5th floor. I unpack my toothbrush and deodorant, cause well it’s been more than 24 hours and ewwww. I come downstairs and Peggy is fixing dumplings. Awesome, I love Taiwan. Nope, not just dumpling curry dumpling. I love Taiwan AND my SIL. We sit down to eat, and in wafts the smell of Durian, not gag worthy yet, but it’s there. Hmmmm, where’d that come from? Wait is that box by the elevator…. Yeap, dad’s moved the durian in from the garage now that we are here, and it’s in the kitchen next to the elevator, cause OF COURSE it is.
Well, he’s just brought it in, but still I think I’m going to Peggy’s. So I go upstairs grab my crap for the night, and write my little FB post. Then Peggy comes in and she has this essential oil humidifier thing, should keep the smell out of our room. I’m not sure though, cause even now anytime the door is open the smell creeps in. We set it up, and it does a good job masking the scent. Don’t get me wrong you can’t KILL the scent of durian, it’s just evil. I’m pretty sure it’s the Devil’s farts from undigested souls bubbling to the surface and becoming this god-forsaken fruit. But, with the smell of essential oils (essential to what?) permeating the room the smell of rot is damped down enough I could probably sleep through it. So, against my better judgement I decide not to sleep with my SIL.
So, the essential oil thing stops during the night. but the door is closed, so…. Oh hell no, that ain’t the type of day this is. The freaking Air conditioner is picking up the durion smell and blasting the devil butt breath into my face anytime it kicks on. After a couple hours of being awoken every time the air con kicks on I decide I need to turn on the humidifier again. I fill it with water, and try to turn it on. Nope. After trying to figure out the issue, and waking I-Ju up at 4:00 while I try (never a good idea at the best of time) I discover the portion of the motor that attached to the ac adapter has become un-clipped from the plastic housing and is stuck to far inside for the plug to connect, it’s dead and durion is oozing into the room. My night’s shot and I-Ju is pissed off I woke her up. the real lesson is, Always sleep with your sister in law when given the option everyone will be much happier for the choice.