Wednesday, August 5, 2009
We'll try to keep this as short as possible for now. If you know about this blog it's because I've told you and so you know me and the events that led me to move from Fukuoka, Japan to Abu Dhabi, UAE. This starts with my departure via Air China.
We were a little worried about the flight because we've heard from friends that 1) valuable things go "missing" when flying Air China and 2) were were bringing a bicycle and three large suitcases along with about 6 pieces of carry-on; two of which should've been checked in. Also, my wife was a little annoyed that since the company I'm working for was paying for it, that they didn't spring for Emirates air line which is supposed to be really nice. That means that any time something goes wrong, it's MY fault that we're not on a nicer airline.
Check-in was no drama with plenty of friends there to help with taking care of the kids and to disguise the fact that we had waaaay to much carry-on. I think we were helped by the fact that the counter staff were distracted by the fact that I was the only one with a visa waiting for me. I had brought this up with my new company (hereafter referred to HCT or "Higher Colleges of Technology") but they said it would be taken care of by the agent upon our arrival in Abu Dhabi. The counter staff in Japan weren't buying it. After about 10 minutes of watching them search through various books and having various discussions with each other, they confirmed what I already knew: my wife and kids would have to enter the UAE on tourist visas and change them over later.
Boarding the plane for our "direct flight" to Beijing was easy enough. The only thing is that my definition of "direct flight" is very different from the airline's. for me, "direct" doesn't include the plane taking off, landing in another city, getting off the plane, going through Chinese immigration, getting yelled at for not having a visa, waiting for said visa, waiting to get back on while worrying about the excessive carry-on, then getting back on. This time I was the the one with the visa problem because of my American passport while my wife and kids got through no problems with their Japanese passports. To be fair, I knew about the stop-over in Dalian, China, I just figured a "direct" flight wouldn't involve immigration.
The flight left Dalian incident-free. The flight from Beijing to Dubai, UAE was a different story...