Made it to airport without incident, and check in was no problem once I figured out the Chinese menu on the ticket machine. Just as quick and easy as the States. And the security line was not more than 10-15 minutes despite the enormous crowds here on a Sunday morning.
The metal in my ankle still does not seem to set off any of these machines (I have been through a dozen or so since the surgery). Oddly, they did not ask me to take off my (money) belt, but they did want to scan my wallet. And they put my carryon through twice before asking me to open it.
Anyone who is concerned about airport safety outside the US (and especially in the Second and Third worlds) is living in a dream world – the American Bubble. I went through American security twice on the way to China without incident, but here in Chengdu they found a pair of (prohibited) scissors deep in the “emergency pack” that Diane had packed for me, complete with medicines for anything short of appendicitis and a sewing kit…that included scissors! They were polite about the whole thing, and of course I just blamed it on her, smiled Shepishly, and I was on my way.
Sitting now at a café near the departure gate hoping the weather is clearer south of here as I lucked out and got a window seat. I wish I was on the right hand (Himalayan) side, but I’ll take whatever view I can get on the 90 min flight out of these sweaty lowlands – look at a topo of the Sichuan Basin where Chengdu sits – and into the cooler highlands.
Will be met by a Mr. Ma, who is to be my host for the next four days (the four after that I am on my own). Then it is back home from Chengdu, though I have not booked the ride back to there, as I am not sure if I want to fly or take the 19 hour train ride and see things from ground level.
Will keep you posted as best I can.