(Ed. note: The original title for this post was China Eastern Sucks! but upon reflection I have renamed it. Nevertheless, think of China Eastern Sucks! as both the subtitle and the subliminal message I am sending to everyone.)
Well here we are on the way to Hong Kong on China Eastern Airlines or perhaps they would be better called Couldn’t Ever Arrive (or Depart) on time. It is incomprehensible to me how in the two years we have been here we have NEVER once departed or arrived on time. The extra special thing is that they almost always get you on the plane, making you THINK you are going to leave at the scheduled time and then there you sit, waiting, waiting, waiting….
When you check in they tell you that the flight is full (a lie) and that there are no seats available in the exit row (another lie). In addition to that, the two girls in two of the exit row seats don’t weigh 160 pounds between them. Good f%^king luck getting an exit door removed by the two of them!
When you finally get in the air, they tell you that you can’t use your cell phone for reading or listening to music even in flight mode. Sensing frustration – anger, perhaps as you read this? Terry is moving as far away from me on the seat. As she can get.
Then they bring the “food”. The attendant says “fish or rice” – we think. Terry has the audacity to ask for clarification. “Fish rice” he says. Terry is trying not to wet her pants, she is laughing so hard (Goes back to “Sit Down!” in Xian). When it comes it is indeed fish rice. Inedible is too good a word to describe it. The guy across the aisle got something else – not fish rice although it looked equally as unappealing.
Okay, it is now 18 hours later and I am back on a multiple dose of my meds! (Ed. note: Just joking…) We made it through the airport without further incident between myself and any of the flight crew, much to Terry’s relief. We did, however have a very interesting experience at the immigration desk.
We were waiting for the officer to finish with the person ahead of us, when the 4 or 5 guys in the next line called out to the fellow ahead of them who had finished and walked through to the baggage area. He had, apparently, left a pink carry-on bag on the floor next to the booth. They called several times and finally an immigration officer went and pulled him back. He looked at the bag and then out into the baggage area several times then finally said “No, not mine” and walked away. What did the officers do – taser him to the ground (LOL), clear the area and call in the bomb sniffing dog and squad, pick up the bag and take it away? None of the above. They just left it there and went back to doing whatever it was they were doing before this interruption. Both Terry and I hoped to clear the terminal before anything happened.
We got to our hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, a part of Kowloon around 11:00. Can anyone tell me just what a boutique hotel is? That’s what the Butterfly on Pratt is. The rooms are clean (but so is Motel 6 – and they leave the light on for you), the bathrooms serviceable and have “Stylish bathroom amenities & quality towels” – that’s what the website says. Now I admit I have become (Ed. note: OK, OK continued to be) a bit of a travel snob since coming to the Far East. So when the hotel says “Stylish Bathroom Amenities”, I assume it means more than shampoo, soap and a toothbrush and toothpaste. Hell, even Motel 6 supplies that (Ed. note: Or so I hear…). Perhaps a razor and shaving cream, perhaps mouthwash, body lotion – maybe even a pumice stone for my feet. Alas, a couple of dental kits (no floss), a shower cap, a sanitary bag (?), and shower gel.
Our first stop on Saturday morning was Sam’s Tailor. We had never heard of this place, but I wanted some more linen/cotton shorts made and they don’t seem to be able to do it in Shanghai. Before we came, I Googled it and TripAdvisor recommended Sam’s. It was quite the experience. As I said I went in for 2-3 pairs of shorts. Came out an hour and a half later with:
- 5 pairs of shorts
- 4 shirts – (Ed.note: Be warned, while not Loudmouth Golf, neither are they “classic white”)
- 2 jackets
- 1 pair of slacks
- 1 suit for Terry – dress and jacket
- 1 blouse for Terry
Now the price you ask. Well, as Roshan, Sam’s 36 year old very charming grandson said “I can’t compete with the Shanghai prices. I don’t source it out. I have 17 salespeople here and 56 people working upstairs.” (Ed. note: And he meant right upstairs.) He showed us the book of orders he was writing up for us and some of the previous orders and prices. We weren’t getting burned but as he said “I will throw in one shirt since Terry is over there having a coronary.”
The walls are lined with photos of people they have served – from the Pope (they flew there to measure him for shirts) to Karl Lagerfeld to U.S. Presidents to Christy Clark (a week ago while teachers strike, but that’s another issue) to Rod Stewart, Sting, James Brown and hundreds of others. We were measured up at 10:30 and went back at 3:15 for a fitting, pick up everything the next day at 5:00, although a shirt and Terry’s blouse were already done.
Pretty sure we are now done with Judy at the fabric market, although the flight here is a little more than the train and subway to Shanghai – and it is on China Eastern…
The Shoe Blog
A guest entry in today’s efforts to admire the people who think outside the box in order to acquire comfort over style (style???). Thanks Joe.