Northwest flight 554 takes off from Denver (DEN) at 9:10 AM on Saturday the 26th. The 7:07 AF bus gets to DIA at 8:27, which is less than 45 minutes before takeoff. So I'm going to take the 6:07 bus, leaving my house at 5:30 to walk to Cold Spring. (Unless someone has an unnatural desire to waste gas crossing town at dawn thirty on Saturday).
I will land in Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) at 12:04. At 1:40 I will board Northwest flight 3. The airport layout looks like I can go from domestic to international flights without another trip through security; I assume they'll just check my passport at the gate. Flight 3 will land at Narita Tokyo International Airport at 5:10 PM on Sunday the 27th, meaning I take off on Saturday afternoon and land Sunday evening.
The Narita (NRT) website makes it sound like connecting international passengers have to go through security between flights. However, all the Northwest flights yesterday were within about a five-gate range, so I sincerely hope that I don't have to spend my 50 minutes in Japan going through security to get from gate 25 to gate 23. Northwest flight 1 leaves NRT at 6 PM on Sunday and lands in Hong Kong (HKG) that night at 10:20 PM. I will then wander out with unknown hours of sleep and my just-small-enough-for-carryon backpack and take the subway to a hotel of some sort, probably in Kowloon.
On Monday the 28th, I will meet up with mollybzz
for big hugs and lunch in Hong Kong. We will then sally forth to Shenzhen or Guangzhou to catch the train to Changsha, capital of Hunnan. After an eight hour train ride (plus a two-day flight for me), we'll probably want a cheap massage from a blind guy.
On the 29th and 30th, we will climb up and down Heng Shan, the southern of the five Taoist holy mountains.
We will take a train from Changhsa to Guilin in Guangxi, arriving early in the morning of February 1st. We will spend three days in Guilin and Yangshuo admiring karst formations and other art-inspiring features. (Search for images of Guilin... it's a stunning area.)
We will then fly from Guilin to Kunming, capital of Yunnan province. We'll spend ten days enjoying the many cultures and features of that fantastic province including the cities of Dali and Lijiang and a two-day hike through Tiger Leaping Gorge. (Search for images of that, too.) We'll experience Chinese New Year (of the Rat) celebrations somewhere fun. We might even get to the volcano+hot spring area of the province.
On the 14th of February, we'll fly from Kunming to Xiamen, where Molly must return to work. We'll enjoy the nooks and crannies of her neck of the woods for a week; I'll make sure to procure some fine tea as gift tokens for folks back home. On the 21st, Lantern Festival will light up the night as I prepare for the final piece of my journey. I'll take the overnight buss on the 22nd to Hong Kong. I'll spend a day in Hong Kong and a day in Macau before boarding Northwest flight 2 at 8:45 AM on Monday, February 25th.
My return to Narita will occur at 1:30, granting me a grand total lifetime Japanese soil accumulation of two hours and twenty minutes, assuming no airline delays. Flight 20 will then whisk me back to my ancestral land of Minnesota, departing at 3 PM on Monday and arriving at 10:55 AM on Monday. After that jaunt through the space-time continuum, I'll take a comforting flight 555 from 1:18 to 2:23, landing in Denver with my head full of Chinese and my belly full of airport food. I've told work I won't be in on the 26th of February, giving me a day to lie in my hammock until strange hours and then catch up on email, buy some groceries, and recover my postal deliveries from the neighbor who will be watering my plants.
Should you wish to contact me while I'm on the road, use my gmail.com address (trevorstone), as I'll be more likely to skim through its slim volume than my (still preferred for general contact) address at trevorstone.org (tstone or any other username you choose). I hope you all have a wonderful Groundhog Day, Shadowboxing Day, Lunar New Year, Valentine's Day, Presidents' Day, Lantern Festival, and every day in between. If you visit when I return, I'll make some tea for you.