Thursday, 10 November 2016

Chinese Diaries - Close Shave

“It’s delayed,” the man said, I got the feeling they were the only two words of English he knew.
“How long?” I asked. He pointed to his colleague with a look that said she is the linguistic around here.
“How long?” I asked her. She shrugged the most perfect it’s not my problem shrug.
“Ten minutes? one hour?” There it was again, that shrug.
Now, usually I see a delayed flight as a frustration but today I’d been running like a blue-arsed fly and desperately needed a coffee, this delay was an opportunity. I headed up the stairs to Dunkin’ Donuts keeping gate D50 firmly in view.
The coffee was not bad, not bad at all and the donut was a little taste of America in a Chinese airport. It was only 12.10 but it felt like it had been a long day. My first experience with the Shanghai underground during rush hour with a suitcase had been a claustrophobic experience. I’d been battered, bashed, bruised and nearly broken. Then the taxi to the airport had weaved, wagged and wiggled through the smallest of spaces, shaving rubber of bike wheels and metal off bumpers. My heart was in my mouth for the entire journey and it didn’t taste good. So this little bit of tranquil was more than welcome and as the screen still said delayed with no indication of how long. I figured I was fine to kick back and enjoy the moment.

It’s amazing what half a cup of coffee can do. It barely felt liked I’d blinked and the screen had changed. No more delay, now it read  last call, gate closing, red flashing light. I slammed the coffee down, grabbed my bag and made for the gate, hoping, hoping they weren’t announcing they were offloading Garess Davesss from the plane. I was in the zone; ignoring the rest of the airport and setting my sights on the finish line. I hurry hurry super scurried towards the gate. They were closing the metal barrier. I had seconds to dive through. I leapt, throwing my hands forward, thrusting the passport into the hands of a startled check-in woman. I wsa in the nickiest of the nick of time but I’d made it.  

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