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Stranded and sleepless in Seattle

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I thought that my Switzerland trip last month was tough, changing rooms and cities every day with my luggage, keeping alert on the train timing.

This US trip seems to be more challenging. When our aircraft reached Atlin in Canada, which is near Alaska, the pilot announced that we were going to detour to Seattle because there was oxygen leak and we will not survive till Hong Kong. It is not only people who can feel lack of oxygen, aircraft can also experience such thing. What we take for granted, oxgyen in the air, seems to be so precious.

The landing at the Seattle airport is wonderful, we could see a snow-capped mountain from SEA-TAC, and it was during the golden hour of the day. The shadow of our giant aircraft Boeing 747-400 is on my right side. I did not see any United Airlines being parked, except ours. Most airlines are Alaskan with intersting logo at the tail.

At the airport, I was looking for a restroom when a distressed looking Chinese man approached me. He carried a wife, a mother in law, and kids. They speak Cantonese, and a bit of Mandarin. I helped to direct them to the car park where the shuttle transferring the stranded passengers to different hotels leave. Then, I rushed back to restroom.

At the shuttle waiting area, the first thing I desperately want is not to end up sleeping alone. I found a grandma from Hong Kong, she is a filial daughter who made the trans-Atlantic journey to visit her father in Toronto. It moves me, I aspire to be like her. Let’s call her Auntie B. Both of us meet our needs, she does not like to be alone. After my suffocating experience in Newport, I have been thinking that dying with a loving grandma (though not my grandma) is better than dying alone. BUT, I am going to live 100 years and beyond. I enjoy listening to her breathing, staring outside our room window, from the dark sky to dawn and sunrise. I managed to sleep probably an hour or plus.

Auntie B asked, “why u do not sleep?”
I answered, “I sleep a lot in the plane”.
Actually, I have reach a state of Goddess-like, I need not much food and sleep, just positive emotions. OK, I am joking. I am still a human being needs to sleep and eat.

I saw white rabbit outside hotel window, near the end of the carpark. Think white rabbit, think Alice in the Wonderland. The semi-conductor guy sitting next to me said, “The fun has just begun”, when we landed in Seattle.

This morning, I helped Auntie B to reply emails to her family, she was not very familiar with my laptop keypad.
It feels great to type “Dearest [her husband name], I am safe … bla bla bla, Love, Mum”.

Gaining confidence
Being young does not stop one to organize a team. People are undecided on what to do while waiting for our next day 3pm flight. Some want to go to the airport early, some want to do sightseeing at Seattle. So, I propose some solutions. Checking the luggage storage at the airport. Well United is kind enough to retain our check-in bags, but some people still carry heavy cabin baggage. Checking what the earliest and duration of transport from the airport to downtown. Delegate a lawyer to help us book an early shuttle from hotel to airport. Convince people – likely to be older than me – on my proposed plans. Feel good, I am a capable human beings, despite what I have just recently encountered.

Things to pack on carry-on luggage:
medicine
spare spectacles
laptop + charger
mobile phone + charger
windbreaker / jacket
toothpaste + toothbrush (we do not want to make others faint with our bad mouth odor)
baby powder (to absorb body odour)
reading material(s)


In adversity, we found WARMTH and KINDNESS. Thank you God for blessing us.

We survived 6 take-offs and landings, 6 airports, 5 airplanes, 3 airlines, and trans-continental time zone differences.

We are the happy chaps when reaching our destination. WE MAKE IT!

Journey start: 12 June 2010, 5am, Boston, MA time.
Journey end: 15 June 2010, 4.30 am, Boston, MA time (after time conversion from destination time)

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Written by blueroselady

June 13, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Posted in God, travel

Tagged with , , , ,

One Response

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  1. […] … I still remember how I ended up spending 4 days to get from America to Asia because our plane has oxygen leakage. God, I am so grateful for fresh air that You gives us every second of our […]


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