En-route to China
When you enter a day head on with expectations of stress and anxiety, it is hard for these expectations not to unnaturally unfold. As a true Brit, I expected trouble. However, considering such a previous unpredictable day, my initial experience was surprisingly breezy. With a lack of ‘abroad experience’ outside of the EU, I still headed into Manchester airport with high expectations.
The Manchester Crew
The first contact with the successful ambassadors’ on the ‘Study China Programme’ (STP) was made in Manchester airport just as planned, With little energy from the night before but a will to endure the long journey ahead Hager, Billy, Husnain, Michael, Jemma and Danny and became acquainted at the gates to the airport. For an airport known for its tendency to take its time, Manchester Airport proved strangely swift and other than a few possessions being taken at the airport gates the venture to Amsterdam was free of problems.
The Hangzhou Crew
As the wheels touched Amsterdam soil at 1.20pm, we filtered into Amsterdam airport and quickly rushed to Gate F which was located some 20 minutes shy of our entry. Even though we were one of the luckiest groups, with 28 STP students, ironically we were unable to link our group with the rest and instead headed to the body scanners.
When you are presented with a pillow and a cover on the chair of your flight seat, immediately it becomes apparent you’re in it for the long haul. Our 45 inch x 1.5m box seat became our Saturday bed for the night, some choosing to watch TV past hours and eating junk while others snoozed. In fact if it was not for the fortune of grabbing an aisle seat and 10 glowing STP faces, I think the trip would have proved impossible to bear. At several points social gatherings formed between seats 19-22, an area that quickly became popular for STP students to finally meet for the first time.
Arriving into the lobby of Hangzhou airport we finally came together as a group. Due to my lack of ability to sleep on the plane, like many others, socialising was friendly but swift, We just needed our beds. The mist forming inside the airport gave an indication of the weather to come and marked the beginning of our journey in China.
Reflection: Wear pyjamas on long haul flights, you might look stupid but you will certainly feel the benefit!
The long haul flight was definitely an experience I will never forget. So what were your highlights of the journey?