17 May 2008

Finally, my parents arrive KHH airport. We couldn't locate them since Wednesday, we heard from company that they were in Chongchin since Wednesday. No idea of following schedule. I read the news from Travel Agent Association and my parents' travel agent was on the list of 2nd directe flight which should leave at 3AM and arrive CKS at 6AM. After a long night chat with Mark in TNN, we came home very late. But I couldn't sleep coz there is no news from travel agent. I was in front of TV most of time. Until 6AM, some of update pic or video come up. I was looking at every pic and search for my parents or their luggage. My goodness, that's my worst week ever. Until 7AM, still no sign of travel agent or my parents. All 4 direct flights are back and not including my parents' travel agent. 28of them are missing, still. After that, I start to call TAA, airlines and whatever I could think of. No one answer, coz it's Saturday. No more news from TAA. I am really out of help. Finally, Joan calls company and it says they'll arrive at 23:35 in KHH. We hope and we wait. I have to go to work, but my mind is miles away.
Finally, we wait until 11PM, Daniel is really highper to see my parents. We wait for long time, all of senior management from company bring knuckle with angle hair noodle. Finally, before midnight, they are out, they really make it home! Although my parents put on cold face, but I can feel it they are really excited to come home. They didn't know that earthquake was so bad, they haven't seen most of pics.
What happened to them? They were in mountain Monday morning. They were hiking for couple hours, so my parents return to coach with other 6 ppl. The driver put on air-conditioning and get ready for the next place. While they were waiting, they felt the earthquake (my Mom though it was coach problem). The tour guide hurried the rest tour members to be back on coach. Meanwhile, the clear lake (you can see thru the lake and see all the thing underneath) beside the parking place turn white and dirty, also the lake was spliting very far, nearly the coach. After all members were on coach, the driver drived so fast and rush to hotel where my parents stay for 2 nights. The first night, I couldn't contact them. The 2nd night, the hotel line was back, but bad quality. It was a mess, there were 11 tours in hotel and they are out of water and electricity. The whole mountain has so many hotels and B&B. Pack of ppl, the roads were broken and communication was down. The hotel my parents stayed was new and it was built in new technic. So they were prepared for this situation. Lucky them, the hotel could provide some electricity and food for few days. All tour guides and hotel staffs were on the meeting all the time and tried to contact others. On Monday, I read the news on internet and called Mark to contact company and locate my parents. Mom called back with mobile phone, but later on, when we tried to call again, the communication was down, for whole night.
Tuesday, they couldn't go anywhere, still no sign of how bad it was. Well, kind of, they know. Most of tours were sleeping outside coz the buildings were not safe. Beside those guests who stay in this hotel, otherwise, all slept outdoor, with 2 degrees at night. No water, no electricity. And then, aftershocks, one after the other one. Mom saw the mountain clap, but she though it was sand-storm, for half an hour every time. Tour guide taught the group that enjoy the breakfast for hours (my parents took their breakfast from 9~11AM), but not to bring it outside of restaurant. They were doing it alright, until someone (not in this group) took more than she could eat and put into her backpack. The hotel started to limit food per portion and then water too. Coz the tour wasn't schedule to have lunch in hotel, so they tried to skip the lunch and wait for dinner. It was RMB$300(Euro 28) / 10 ppl with 8 dishes and 1 soup; it raised to RMB$1,200(Euro 110) / 10 ppl with 3 dishes and 1 soup. Just in few hours after the earthquake happened. A bottle of water was RMB$2 and went up to RMB$10.
Wednesday, the early morning, they prepared to leave. They arrived airport with big mess. The airport was small but packs of ppl tried to get out. My parents were told to keep it local profile, hide every value items. There was a TW tour guide screamed at my parents' tour guide and question how he can get the tickets. (OS: it's up to your ability, dude) However, it was a mess and my parents went on the flight with no problem. When they arrived Chongchin, they realised how bad this earthquake was. By the time, they arrived Chongchin, it was 2 AM. They couldn't check in where they want to, so they were placed in 4-star hotel with poor room condition; with mould pillow and blanket .
Thursday, they moved into a 5-star hotel. The tour guide worked hard to get dinner for them. The most important thing was he kept them calm. Those ppl were over 60, they couldn't run or do others too excited. Plus they ovre walked on Sunday and Monday. My parents couldn't walk too far. Lunch was difficult, so they had brunch in hotel. The tour guide was in the meeting most of time or went out searching for food. My parents walked around and my Dad even got lost. He hired a taxi to take him back to hotel.
Friday, still wait for flight. My parents were still in the same hotel, but no communication. Again, another day passed.
Saturday, they made it home, 4PM they took off and they arrived HKG around 8PM. 11:15PM they arrived KHH airport! Alright, I was crying big time there. But I can't help it, I was under stress for whole week. First was DC and then my parents. What a week!

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