Before China called and asked Barrage to perform this weekend on BTV's Chinese Spring Festival Global Gala (the big Chinese New Year celebration on TV), I had already planned to attend one of my best friends' wedding in Mexico, so separate travel arrangements were made for me to get back home and attend this wedding. This morning, we all left Haikou, China; I flew to Hong Kong and Barrage flew to Beijing.
Around 10 a.m., I arrived in Hong Kong, went through customs/immigration (since Hong Kong, though in China, is still somewhat run as a separate country), picked up my bags, checked in for a 1:00 p.m. flight to San Francisco, went back through customs/immigration again, and then caught my flight.
About one hour in, the captain informed us that an equipment light was malfunctioning and we were returning to Hong Kong to get it checked out. At this point, lots of fuel needed to be dumped for the landing, so jets of fuel started shooting out of the tips of the wings. I'd say, conservatively, this happened for 45 minutes.
Imagine, briefly, the captain telling you there is a minor problem and then seeing fuel gush out of the wings for must certainly be way too long...
But as he's the pilot and should know what he's doing, the proper amount had clearly been dumped when we safely landed back in Hong Kong. On landing, we were informed the flight was cancelled and we were all booked for the same flight tomorrow afternoon...which presented a problem because I fly to Mexico tomorrow morning.
Off the plane and through customs/immigration we went.
Quite amazingly, I was able to grab a seat on a flight to L.A. tonight, Thursday, at 11:45 p.m. If everything goes as planned, I should now arrive in Phoenix on Friday morning at 12:45 a.m.
Despite the fact that I will have been in Hong Kong and/or its airport and/or on a plane for what must certainly be an unhealthy amount of time, I'm ultimately just relieved to be safe and still on track to make the wedding.
Also, I'd like to point out the two most ridiculous parts of today:
1) Once I land tonight
in L.A., I will have six new stamps in my passport from today's
debacle: one from leaving China to go to Hong Kong, four from twice
entering and twice leaving Hong Kong, and one from arriving back in the US.
2) In case you didn't catch this, I'm leaving Hong Kong at 11:45 p.m. on Thursday night and arriving in Phoenix on Friday morning at 12:45 a.m...
In conclusion, traveling is crazy.