Today was the day we moved to China! It is 8:15 pm and I’m already ready for bed, so I am trying to keep myself up a little later by writing this in the hopes that I will reduce the affects of jet lag… Our journey started by getting up way too early after a night of staying up too late saying good bye to friends and family. Then we loaded up the rental car with everyone/thing except Kenobi. “Old Ben” will have to live with David’s parents for a few weeks until it cools off enough for him to be allowed to fly as cargo. In an effort to distract myself from this news (and to stave off boredom) I made a snapchat collage of the cities we passed through on the way to the airport. Enjoy! Once at the airport the rental car company thought it would be easier for someone to drive us and our 8 bags to the terminal in the same vehicle instead of transferring everything to a shuttle bus (smart move enterprise!). The Delta curbside check-in guys were superb and then we had to go inside to check me in with miss Roxy (the cat). Once the agents learned how to check in a passenger with a pet we were off through security where Roxy was carried through the metal detector and both my bags were inspected because of the suspicious looking cat food and litter. Then we waited around for a while before having to frantically port our phone numbers to google voice on my laptop because you can’t do it on a mobile device (oops, more on why we did this in another post). Mine still may not have been done entirely correctly…I also tried to get Roxy to use a makeshift litter box in the bathroom with no luck and then we were on the plane. David in business class and me in economy comfort with the cat. Silly cat probably doesn’t even appreciate the choice I made for her! I was fortunate to sit next to a man who likes pets and the plane itself was actually quite empty so there was an empty seat between us and enough space for me and Roxy to spread out (as much as we could anyway, she had to stay in her carrier). I took Roxy to the bathroom three times to let her out and stretch her legs, and the third time I suspected we might be successful in her using the littler box as she had been meowing quite insistently for a few minutes before that. For a generally quiet traveler that was my cue. Surprisingly the litter box liner (plastic cube shaped bag) and a little bit of litter was a bigger hit that when it was all stuffed into a small plastic litter box. New learning for the future. When we landed most passengers didn’t even realize I had an animal, let alone a cat, so I would say she traveled quite well overall! The babies crying were louder than she ever was, just as I had hoped. In Shanghai we made it through customs, filled out a ton of paperwork and paid 2,000RMB to start Roxys 7 day quarantine, grabbed all our bags, and managed to find our driver: Jacky. We then had dinner with one of David’s American co-workers and are now ready for some sleep. I’m sure I forgot some interesting details, so I’ll update those when I’m more “with it.” Goodnight!
Some fun facts I left out from our journey:
- My last meal in the U.S.A. was an Egg McMuffin because it was right next to our gate. ‘Murica.
- The stewardesses who realized I had an animal on the plane were quite helpful, and several didn’t even know. I was unable to board during the time when people need “extra assistance” due to the google voice fiasco, so I was one of the last people to squeeze onto the plane.
- The man in the seat across the aisle asked me why I “hauled a lot of stuff” with me to the bathroom on the plane almost every time I went. And why I had to pull out my roller bag each time to do it. He’s lucky the answer was a cat and her litter box, because I imagine this whole scenario could have been a lot more awkward if that weren’t the case.
- I chose not to sedate Roxy for this trip, although I believe it is a popular choice among those who do not trust their pet to stay quiet for 13.5 hours in a metal tube hurtling through the sky. Some of the other expats I have talked with thus far opted for sedation of in-cabin pets with no major side effects, so it can be done I have learned. Since sedation is highly frowned upon for cargo travel (which our dog will have to do), I just never really thought to ask our vet about the cat. Again, she’s lucky she has always been a good car traveler or things could have gone quite differently for her.
- When we arrived in the airport there was such mass chaos I’m convinced I could have walked the cat through the “nothing to declare” lane and taken her straight out of the airport! That is, if I weren’t concerned I would accidentally kill her piling her atop the already precariously large pile of luggage we were carting out of the airport…We had to ask two different people in English with hand gestures and pictures (finally carrying around a picture of her all day paid off!) until we were pointed in the direction of the animal quarantine office off in an obscure corner of the airport. Luckily the quarantine is only 7 days, which is actually convenient, because we will likely be able to get everything set-up at home before Roxy will join us.
- Glad we bought a lot of extra currency off a co-worker who had just moved back to the US before we left. Boarding a cat for a week with the authorities is 2000RMB (~$325). I did not realize I would be paying that right when we handed her off, I thought we paid when we picked her up. Good thing we were prepared.