Steve's China Blog

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Arrived in New Zealand

The Friday before Christmas and it was very busy at the office, since every one had things to finish up before our customers in the west went on Christmas holidays. A few of my co-workers still had time to form a group of Christmas carolers, who went around the office in the afternoon and sang carols. It was a lot of fun, and was a very new experience for most of the staff. They sang several songs in both English and Chinese and got quite a few people to sing along with them.

IBM ChengDu Christmas carolers visit the ANZ team area to sing carols.

On Saturday I woke up before 5:00am to finish packing and head to the airport to catch my 8:00am flight to Shanghai where I was connecting to a flight to Auckland New Zealand. I got to the airport at 7:00am and had plenty of time before they would board the flight at 7:30. Unfortunately there was a heavy fog in ChengDu, so no flights were coming or going and all of the flights were delayed. At about 10:30am the fog had lifted enough to resume flights and we waited at the gate for them to call our flight.

We waited, and waited, and waited. They were boarding a lot of flights, but not ours. By 2:30pm everyone on our flight was getting very anxious to get going and very upset that they had not boarded our flight. By 3:00pm the passengers were almost ready to riot! There were a lot of us up at the gate counter demanding to know what the delay was, and of course the staff there had no idea. Chinese don't usually complain too much, but what started out as simple inquiries became shouts. Why were other planes going to Shanghai that were after ours being allowed to go, but not ours!

The crowd kept growing and growing, both in size and in volume, and eventually the staff at the counter sort of retreated away from the counter and was near the door leading out of the area like they were going to run away. At about 3:30 they announced that we would leave at around 4:00pm and it was about 4:20pm that we eventually left ChengDu to go to Shanghai. A delay of more than 8 hours... thanks Air China.

Since we were so late leaving ChengDu I missed my connection to Auckland and had to stay in Shanghai overnight. After arriving in Shanghai I had to get my ticket changed and talk the airline into arranging a hotel for me to stay at. While doing this I ran into some others from my ChengDu flight who had missed their connections also... Sarah from Australia who had missed her connection to Sydney and Steve from Milwaukee who had missed his connection to Chicago. We ended up traveling together to the hotel where the airline had set us up for the night, had dinner together, and then hung around and had a few beers and chatted. It was nice to meet them both.

The next day I got up and went back to the airport and caught my flight to Auckland. The flight was rather uneventful, but I did not get as much sleep as I had hoped and when I arrived in Auckland I was pretty tired. My friends Leola and Lloyd picked me up at the airport and we drove over to their house where I got a chance to shave, take a refreshing shower, and take a little nap. After that we went for a drive around north island to see some sights in and around Auckland. It was all very lovely and warm, and I was very happy that I had finally made it to New Zealand.

Driving toward the city of Auckland

The view of Manukau Harbor from Leola and Lloyd's house

I'll post more about my trip to New Zealand later, but today is Christmas and I don't want to spend a lot of time in front of the computer. I hope you all have a great Christmas!


  • I wish I could go to New Zealand. If you find a spare ticket or a bundle of cash, let me know. Heh.

    By Blogger Gabby Girl, at 2:26 PM  

  • I'm hoping to go back some day. Three days was just not enough.

    By Blogger Steve Harms, at 10:56 AM  

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