Subject: Re: Airline reality show
Hi Ziners,

This thread really got me thinking about my trip to China in '85. Not so many Round Eyes (as we were referred to by the locals) were seen traveling there at that time. The day we were to fly from Beijing to Xian, we had to leave the hotel about 5 am to make the flight. But when we got to the airport, we kept being shuffled from one departure gate to another all day long. No one would say anything to us, but someone in our group of 18 would notice the sign above the gate had been changed. So we would relocate. An airport employee came and told us to go to the restaurant about mid-afternoon and they served us a light lunch. Then, a couple of hours later, we were put on another bus and taken to a military base for a flight on a converted Mig. When leaving the base airport, I noticed a sign over the walkway in English, a couple of sentences I can't remember now but thought hilarious at the time, so I put my trusty Canon up to my eye to snap a picture. I was immediately aware of two soldiers in my face, one of whom had a gun pointed right at me and the other reaching for my camera. In my fatigue and wonder, I was not even thinking that you don't take pictures on a military base.

We had no accompanying Chinese tour guide (none ever materialized on the whole trip, though we were supposed to have had one), but a man in our group somehow communicated with the soldiers, and I escaped with my camera intact but no picture of the sign.

Oh well, it was a trip full of adventure. We were a very compatible group and no one lost their cool.

Lou Matthews Lakeway, TX (in 80's with AC on Sunday, but below freezing the last few days)