Over a month ago now I undertook a journey that many people will never do, in a time frame that many more will find ridiculous, for reasons that some people would find completely alien and pointless. What I did was only possible due to modern technology and my ability to cope with high levels of discomfort. What adventure could I have possibly embarked on you may wonder??
I flew 48 hours with Eastern China Airways..!
What I did was fly for 12 hours, have a 12 hour stop over then fly for another 12 hours, visit family and friend for 6 days. Then fly back to the UK on another 12 hour flight followed by 9 more hours of layover. Finally followed by 12 hours more of flying. This was then followed up by an hour and a half road travel to get home, totally ready for a break…..
So a quick review;
To start with I will first say that overall my experience with Eastern China Air was pretty good. The service was great, food was quite tasty by airline standards, the seats where smaller than normal and 3 of the 4 flight were packed…… However probably the most notably bad thing about Eastern China Airlines was the censorship of the inflight movies. Something I didn’t even think about is China’s crazy censorship rules. First the selection was poor, very generic and old movies with only a few of the most recent films. However possibly the most annoying thing was the fact the most of the movies had been noticeably edited so some of the themes and content line up more with the views of the Chinese Communist party. This includes swearing, ideas mentioned by actors, things shown on screen e.g. Brands or logos, nudity is a big one that is taken out. Breasts, nipples, too much leg and but-cheek scenes are all edited to show just above neck shots if not removed all together. Also any other entertainment in flight was all pre approved by the censorship, e.g. Magazines, music, games ect ect. Eastern China Air is definitely not the best airline and certainly not the worst. On the whole I would fly again as long as the price was sufficiently cheaper than average.
Rewind to the beginning of the trip. I left London flying solo long haul for the first time, flying with Eastern China Air. 12 hours, 4 movies, 3 meals and multiple leg cramps later I arrived in Shanghai airport. Upon arriving my intention was to go straight through customs and get out into the city, however my intentions were quickly crushed. First as a foreigner wanting to exit the airport I had to scan my fingerprints. After squashing my fingertips against a suspiciously sticky screen I took the printed ticket to the customs line, oh the line. After waiting in line for what seemed like hours ( more like 30 minutes) I finally got to the customs desk. I was met with not 1 but 2 customs officers, instantly I saw a good cop bad cop skit about to play out…. One officer was smiling and bright, the other was not….. I handed over my passport and the various forms I had filled out and waited. The 2 officers both looked at my forms and start deliberating in some dialects of Chinese as well as tapping along on the computer in front of them. As it turns out I had a really interesting history, because they took ages…. In the end I was denied entry into China and had to spend the entirety of my 12 hour stop over in the airport…. And being not very big, and all the food and shopping Asian based it was a long 12 hours. 😦
12 hours, 2 meals, a couple glasses of beer, a nap and many announcements over the intercoms later it was time to board a plane. This flight was the same as the first, packed with mostly asians, heading to Auckland, NZ. 12 hours 2 meals 3 more movies and a lot of napping we touched down at Auckland airport. It was good to be home.
Knowing Auckland airport reasonably well I headed straight for luggage claim and then into customs, hoping to beat the mass of other passengers about to flood the customs officers with exotic tea and mushrooms. My customs officer was a large smiling man, with a ‘chur bro!’ (Typical New Zealand greeting 🙂 ) and a few questions later I flew through customs and out into arrival. I was met by a long time family friend Norm, him and his wife are ex-canadians living in New Zealand, Norm is a geologist and his wife Anne a nurse. An evening of good wine and great company followed. I retired to bed relatively early as I had an early morning to catch up with my brother for a rave! Yes, a rave. And what makes it more interesting is it’s a sober rave and held at 6am on a Wednesday.
6am came around far to quickly, Norm dropped me in the CBD as he was heading into the office. I met my younger brother Lewis who is a student at the local university. my younger brother led my down K road, (the unofficial red light street of Auckland) to a little side ally, then through a door and down a flight of stairs. As we descended into the darkness the steady beat of drum and bass music greeted us. We paid our small admission fee $10NZD and entered, we were greeted by a small dark underground bar packed with people and the steady beat of drum and bass booming from the djs corner. At the bar there was free coffee, fresh fruit and kombucha, all good healthy things to help kick off your morning.
There was roughly 50 people in the small room, by no means a full crowd by normal standards, but with it being 7am on a Wednesday morning and everyone being sober it definitely felt like enough people. We sidled around the edge of the room until we found a spot to join in, and by join in I mean bounce on the spot and fist pump. I will be the first to admit that my dancing it shit but that wasn’t the point that morning. Everyone was there to have fun and enjoy just dancing. To my knowledge everyone was sober and clean, also everyone had a nice little space around them and was just doing their own thing. It was different and refreshing to be in such an environment where people could enjoy music and not feel like they are being judged or have to worry about hangovers. And talk about a cardio workout! By the end I was soaked in sweat. As the last set finished it was time to emerge out into the sunlight. Blinking in the morning brightness we were followed out into the world by very normal people, businessmen in suits, office workers and service staff all just out for a little morning fun. Was it fun? Hell yea!! Was it a little strange? Hell yea, but aren’t all the best things in life just a little strange.
According to their website “MORNING PEOPLE” are a NZ based “morning rave aficionados – sending you into the day with a big grin and endorphins to burn.” They host events every week in Auckland and 1 a month in Wellington. The motto is “party first, work later.” It’s fun and to the point. Check out there hashtag and website. https://www.morningpeople.dance/page/design/Web/f6867a03c690dde0d6475fb267a1e7d2fbff4ebaa5de06e2879266d4
After our morning workout we headed to my brother’s apartment for a quick shower, then back down town for breakfast and coffeeeee.. 🙂 A few hours of catching up and chatting we met my host for the previous night and had more coffeeee…. Lunch at home then time for farewells as I needed to catch a bus to Hamilton for the next leg of my journey to see the rest of my family.
That’s enough for now, the rest will come in next weeks post with pics of home and the party. Thanks for tuning in and taking time to read, please leave a comment or a question, also any tips about the writing will not be turned away as I am still very much learning. Until next time.
As always, get out that gate and get adventuring.