We are still in the Shanghai airport, but waiting at our boarding gate. The girls are doing what they do best - eating hot, spicy noodles at a REAL Chinese restaurant. It is only around 2:00 p.m., and our flight does not leave till 4:10 p.m., but I wanted to be sure we made it through security alright. Good thing I did, because there was extra paperwork to complete since this is an international flight. John was right - Shanghai objected to the incorrect use of Ava's name. She is traveling on a Chinese passport with an American Visa, so using her Chinese name - Tu Yingchuan. The travel agency tried to give her a last, middle, and first name, so reserved a flight under the name Chuan, Tu Ying. I was standing in the line, trying to judge which of the ladies at the check-in counter would be the most lenient. Of the three, I got the strictest-looking one. She examined Ava's passport a long time, but when she said "How many check-in bags you have?" I thought we were home free. Not so! After we put one piece of luggage on the belt, she started speaking to another woman in Chinese at a desk nearby. They were objecting to Ava's name. Not to worry! Like many things in life, it was nothing that "fifty American dollars" wouldn't solve. I paid the fee - what choice did I have(?) and we proceeded to the security line with our boarding passes. I made sure I took my shoes off. Both the girls laughed when I set off the alarms AGAIN!! This time, they narrowed it down to the boarding passes I was holding in my hand. They actually laid them on the counter, passed the wand over them, and the alarm went off each time. Of course, Ava thought it was funny when they pulled my shirt up! Me - not so much!! I was hoping our luggage would go on to Des Moines, as from Des Moines it had gone directly to Beijing. No such luck! We only have an hour between flights at Chicago and we will arrive and leave at different terminals, plus I have to get Ava through immigration. According to Ms. Strict, we will also have to claim our luggage and re-check it within that one hour. The only thing in my favor is THEY WILL ALL SPEAK ENGLISH!!!!!
I will close this, as Aleah wants to read an e-mail from her sister. We are planning a BBQ at my parents' home this Sunday for family to meet Ava. I hope she is not too overwhelmed by our big clan!
Two more flights to go - the longest is next. If any of you have ever tried sitting in one spot for thirteen hours, you would know how much I dread it! After awhile, every bone in your body aches!! At least if we miss our flight to Des Moines, it is only a one-hour flight and it shouldn't be too hard to get another!
Onward we go!!