The Airlines

The Airlines

Gotta give it to Air China for making our last SFO PVG trip a memorable one. Yes, I have written many a posts bitching about the disastrous state of “customer service.” To date, I have sworn off HP laptops, Best Buy, China Eastern (through LAX), Sprint, Enjoy Shanghai… yes, the list goes on. Everywhere I turn, I am disappointed with half-ass people. Seriously, how are these people even employed? Anyway, in case you were wondering, something actually came from the Enjoy debacle: I was offered a voucher to SF Steakhouse in town (yes, how appropriate). Trouble is, it’s now been two weeks and I have yet to receive the voucher in the mail. I actually had trouble receiving mail from Enjoy in the past. Initially, it was my bad: I miswrote my address as Number 5 rather than Lane 5. But I corrected the mistake last year. Now, it’s the same problem again. Now Enjoy is like investigating something with the post office. Must everything be so goddamn difficult? Jesus fucking Christ.

So the whole thing with Air China… first, John and I are fying back to SF on separate airlines. He’ll be on United; I’ll be on Air China. And the official airline of the Beijing Olympics has me fucking going through BJ. So bloody stupid. When I purchased the ticket last October, the flight was direct. Then in April, Air China made the brilliant decision to alter the route with a stopover in BJ– only adds about 4 hours’ time to the itinerary. Fuckers. I spent days on the phone with Travelocity (they’re on my shitlist now too) AND Air China and ultimately, I got no where. Pissed me off. So I guess John and I can consider this flight back a safe strategy, like for the kids we don’t have. You know, in case one of us goes down, at least the other survives for the nonexistent kiddies. Morbid but hey, people actually think like that!

John’s experience with Air China last Saturday was hell. In BJ, the connecting flight to SH never made it, so the agents scrambled for an alternative. After utter disorder and chaos, the passengers were hurried from one end of the BJ airport to the other to board a plane headed for Hongqiao airport (rather than Pudong). Fortunately, Hongqiao is closer to our apartment, but still. The two SH airports are on the opposite sides of town! Had it not been for John’s smartphone, I would have been waiting at PVG for no reason.

In light of our recent bad experiences with the airlines, it’s a wonder I’m giving an iota of thought to some job openings with Cathy Pacific in their San Francisco base. You see, I’m kinda bummed about leaving China. My good friend Jenny, a former Cathay Pacific flight attendant, told me Cathay is aiming to open shop in SF. They are currently recruiting billingual staff for their SFO-HKK route. I’m actually a bit surprised by my interest in this opportunity. After all, am I cool and glamorous and wild and crazy (that’s how I imagine airline crews…)? Not a bit. Still, I’ll look into it. My friends are skeptical too: they can’t see me excelling at customer service, or rather, they can’t see me putting up with other people’s bullshit… Oh well, this could just be my ticket to Asia. Plus, it’s a job where I can use my Mandarin so can’t be that bad, right? More on that later.

In other news, the last few days have been exhausting. John and I braved the suffocating heat and headed out to Pudong to extend his visa on Monday. I don’t care what I told you during the winter: Shanghai summers are definitely WORSE than Shanghai winters. Just to put it in perspective, my buddy Pamela canceled shopping because of the heat. You know it’s REALLY bad then!

So yesterday, the packers finally came. Jesus. I only wasted like two weeks trying to squeeze a goddamn quote out of these people. So confusing. There’s like the main shipping company that has an agent in Shanghai and then I also deal with another dude in their SFO branch office. Oddly, they don’t communicate directly. They actually go through me… bizarro. Then, there’s this separate packing company that’s supposed to get me cleared through customs in China. That company has like three different contacts, and every time we talk money, they ask me what price I was quoted. Yeah, totally sketch. Like I’m getting a laowai quote or something. So frustrating dealing with all these hands in the pot. So we ended up shipping back a few unanticipated things– his 23-inch cinema display which didn’t sell and my guzheng (which, encased, is practically the size of a coffin!). What we had expected to be under 3 cubic meters ended up being 5! And we’re supposed to be minimalists. I was so depressed yesterday after they hauled off our 20 big-ass boxes. How did this happen? Damn books, I tell you. We don’t even have knicky-knacky shit. It was like four monster tubs of books plus clothes and bedding. Anyway, I’m disgusted with myself. It definitely isn’t going to be pretty on the other side. I just hope my oil paintings, guzheng, and cinema display arrive unscathed.

I’ve been away from the gym for about five days. Yeah, the food safari has already taken its toll… But it rained this evening so things have cooled off some. I plan to head over around 9. Gotta get in my 30 minutes of misery.

Btw, Nemesis is coming over tomorrow to check out Sandy. We’ll see what comes of that. I also sold my dresser and a radiator heater… Hurray! Checkin’ shit off the list… We’re down to the homestretch.

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