You land at your destination tired from the flight, get through immigration quickly enough and look forward to grabbing your bags and heading home.  But wait, they haven’t announced which carousel to go to to pick up your bags even though the flight landed about 20 minutes ago.  Finally, the information screen tells you to go to carousel / baggage claim number 8 to pick up your bags.  You go and you wait ….. and wait ….. and wait.  Eventually, some bags come out but not yours.  Then after a few minutes, the conveyor belt breaks down, no really, it breaks down and comes to a complete stop.  Maintenance men arrive scratching there heads and after about 10 more minutes, they fix the problem and the belt starts moving again.  It’s another 5 minutes before you spot your suitcase, finally.

Yes folks, welcome to London’s premier airport, Heathrow!  If it had been Shanghai, I’d be at the baggage reclaim about 10 minutes after stepping off the plane, and my bags would probably already be on the conveyor belt.  Within 15 minutes of landing, I’m usually in the taxi, well on my way home.  But then Shanghai’s a modern, developed city and London, well, it’s London!

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22 Responses to Backwards

  1. Justin says:

    Merry Xmas in advance…
    by the way, could you tell me all you know about how to choose a college in the united states, and the fellowships and scholarships. In a word, everything related to the overseas study. Thanks … a lot!

  2. wancestyle says:

    WoAi – Don’t complaint about Heathrow. Have you ever been to Rome Leonardo Da Vinci airport? Everytime I land there I have to wait on average half n’ hour for my luggages to arrive!

  3. CP says:

    I arrived at City Airport last night, it’s fantastic – you’re out of the building within minutes of landing, even if you have checked baggage.

    It might be tricky place to land a Boeing 747 from Beijing/Shangahi though.

  4. WoAi says:

    Justin – I know nothing about study in the USA.

    Wancestyle – We had a conference in Spain earlier this year. Some of my Asian colleagues flew via Rome and their luggage never made it to Spain. Was quite funny watching them wear “donated” clothes for the whole week!

    CP – Yes, pity they don’t do flights to Shanghai from City!

  5. Miss Jane says:

    I only take carry-on with me to travel. Of course it’s much easier to pack summer clothes than winter piles.

  6. jin says:

    That is not bad…I usually wait 30 minutes to get my stuff @ LAX coming back from Korea. Like Miss Jane says, I try to just take a carry on, but when relatives or parents hear I am going to Korea and back, they usually ask me if I can take something.

    I have learned to say no, why? Example, one time I told them I have only one carry on due to a business trip, and I ended up bringing back some big ass exercise machine.

  7. Shanghai Ninja says:


    Since you are not jewish…I am assuming…then I Wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

  8. wisemanofasia says:

    I know exactly what you mean mate, although when I landed the conveyor wasn’t broken it just took them bloody ages! Welcome to England the land of people that can’t be arsed and don’t care

  9. we just spent 3 days in vegas . . . and did carry on only! i did carry on only to tenerife and busan, too. (i know it’s too late now, but next year, just post your family’s gifts . . . )

    merry (belated) christmas.

    tell justin he can email me if he wants info on coming to school in the USA. (i used to be a recruiter.) =)

  10. WoAi says:

    Angie – I heard there was 3 inches of snow in Vegas this week! I don’t know how you can do only carry on. Are you really a woman! Posting is too risky, I don’t think you have much experience with China Post. And there’s no way I can do carry on only for a 2 week trip. I don’t bring much over but I sure as hell have a full case when I fly back.

    I’m sure Justin will appreciate your help, or you could just write “everything you know about overseas study” right here!

    Wiseman – Yeah, it takes ages. I miss China!

    Shanghai Ninja – Do all non-Jewish people celebrate Christmas?

  11. T says:

    I wanted to help Justin out all last week, but since there is an issue posting replies to this blog using my Blackberry, it had to wait until I came back to Shanghai.

    Justin, the two most important things about finding a place to study in the United States are women and football (American! With the oblong shaped ball).

    You don’t want to choose a school which is terrible at both (say, like Harvard, Yale or MIT) nor a school which is only good at women (Wellesley or the Seven Sisters) – but schools that are good at football tend to do pretty well with the women, so a helpful guide is the weekly top 25 rankings. So we can see that schools like Oklahoma, Texas and Florida are all pretty good.

    Now, there’s a delicate balancing act – you don’t want to attend a school that has a bunch of redneck women (say like WV or Oklahoma), but you may not want to attend a school that only has good looking women and a horrible football team either (like UCLA).

    So, I’m going to recommend the University of Texas, Austin. A quality education. Excellent football.

    Plus you can attend school with these lovely ladies.

    As for getting a scholarship, run a 4.4 40 yard dash, or throw a football 60 yards, and they’ll pay your way to go there!

    (me? no I didn’t attend UT, in fact UT ruined my schools 2004 season)

    As for WoAi, I call shennanigans on this whole post. There’s no way you got to baggage claim 10 minutes after getting off a plane in Pudong. Usually you have to ride around in that stupid bus for 20 minutes, THEN wait in immigration for 30 minutes while people figure out you needed to have filled in the immigration form. Then once you get to the baggage claim you still need to wait.

    (It took me an hour from landing to getting into a cab today in Pudong – it was much faster in Barcelona)

  12. WoAi says:

    T – Yes, if everything goes against you it can take longer, but I usually land at a gate so no need to take a bus and immigration is hit or miss but here’s a tip I have mentioned before – DO NOT go to the foreigner line, but instead line up at the Chinese nationals line, it’s much quicker. How was Barcelona? I was there in the summer and it was great!

  13. wancestyle says:

    lol @ T! Hilarious post. I wish British Universities had supported my study through a soccer scholarship – that would have saved me a few pennies! But then again, three year tuition fees in UK are like a month tuition fee in the States!

  14. woai: i am a very reasonable person when it comes to packing my bags for a trip . . . i CANNOT stand to be in line waiting for bags. it’s just soooo . . . common! =P

  15. WoAi says:

    Sorry T that’s such a long post I haven’t had time to read through it yet, because my nephew keeps asking me to play Wii with him every 90 seconds!

    Angie – Indeed, skip the wait for baggage and head straight to the waiting for the airport bus!

  16. T says:

    Hmmm, Chinese nationals line. It’s an idea. Maybe the next time I fly from Europe I will (usually my overseas flights are to Hong Kong – which doesn’t have that many foreigners flying in from there – so I choose the shorter line).

    Barcelona = aside from the thieving assholes who stole my credit cards and wallet – it was fantastic. I only wish I had my cards so I could’ve splurged on dinner at Lasarte instead of having to count every Euro to make sure I had enough money to make it back to China. (I did, barely, I made it to Germany with 20.45 in Euros – then spent 15 Euros on dinner in Frankfurt Airport)

  17. WoAi says:

    T – Oh man that sucks, that would ruin the entire experience for me. When I went in the summer everyone warned me of the thieves so I held on to my wallet for dear life and never let go for 3 days!

    Yeah choose the shorter line at the airport. My point was simply that you can use any line. I don’t really know why the put up signs separating foreigners and locals.

  18. T says:

    Everyone warned me too. I just relaxed once . .. and BAM. You bastards.

  19. WoAi says:

    T – I was the opposite. Everyone warned me and I think I spent the entire time just thinking how to protect my valuables!

  20. CP says:

    T – Thanks for the link to the pic. Blimey, the moths have been at their clothes in a big way!

  21. T. says:

    Yes, those poor women. Maybe you should go down and help them out.

  22. CP says:

    T – Yes, that course of action should take their mind off the lack of clothing. ;-)

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