Forty-seven hours. That’s how long it took us to come back from Beijing.
We left Monday morning for the airport. Security was pretty tight: as soon as we stepped in the airport, a security officer put some kind of wet towel on our bags to test them for radioactivity. We were then asked to step aside for a few minutes to see if it react. I’m yet not sure whether it’s a great way to prevent terrorist attack (think fifty people waiting for their bag to show signs of radioactivity just meters from the doors) but I was glad to learn we were uranium-free.
The eight-hours flight from Beijing to Helsinki was a fairly easy one, but since we were going West and flying during the day, it was hard to sleep. We arrived in Helsinki Monday at 2pm.
It had only been a few weeks since we came through Finland but it seemed like ages. The temperature had dropped dramatically to a low of five degrees and it was quite a shock after Beijing’s hot an humid weather.
We had a 24-hours layover in Helsinki and we learned last minute that the airline wouldn’t provide accommodation, as it is often the case. We asked the tourist info booth at the airport for hostels but she said they were all booked. To add to our misery, the cheapest hotel in Helsinki was about 200 euro.
We decided to head to downtown Helsinki anyway and look for a place to stay. We ended up at the main train station, at another tourist info booth, where we learned that: 1) all places were definitely booked and the only hotel available was 19 kilometers away and 200 euro/ night, 2) that we couldn’t call it because in Finland, there are no more public phones. Seriously. Apparently, Nokia took over and 99% of the population has a cell phone. Fuck the travelers and the poor people.
So we started to walk around, hoping to find an hotel anyway. Feng finally found one nearby, way too expensive for our budget but we didn’t have the choice. Sleeping at the airport… been there, done that. We still had a long way to go. We checked in and spend the night freezing in “Hell”, as it said on our plane tickets. The hotel was nice and I enjoyed the sauna and the western breakfast, plus we both got a good night sleep which is priceless.
The following day, we got back to the airport to catch a 2pm flight to Ottawa. The plane was extremely small and cramped… on top of that, we scored the two seats by the plane’s door which meant that for the following nine hours the flight attendants kept on forgetting us when serving drinks and food, that we weren’t allowed to keep our carry-on with us because they could block the emergency exit and we couldn’t recline the seats for the same reason. Yes, I did hate the flight.
We arrived in Toronto at 4pm and our Greyhound bus to Ottawa was at 6:30pm. We rushed to take the airport shuttle and ended up walking to the bus station because it was already 6pm by the time we got to downtown Toronto. When we arrived at the station, the bus was ready to leave, so we had no time to go to use the bathroom or buy some food, both things I needed badly.
The Greyhound bus ride took almost six hours. We arrived in Ottawa at midnight on Tuesday… and it’s now almost 2am.
I have about ten millions of things to do, ranging from blog maintenance to reading things, from buying shampoo to unpack my bags and do the laundry. Fortunately, I will only start work again next week… and it’s up to me.
Hey, how about a good night sleep now?