Flying home

Time for my home trip! Finally, after being here since 24th of March 2020.

The expectations are high! Trip is planned to 23rd of July. Flying from Nanjing to Beijing in the morning, then from Beijing to Stockholm in the afternoon. A really good trip when everything works as expected.

Things starts to go wrong

On Tuesday, evening at 22:19 (20th of July), my assistant writes me on WeChat ”I heard about COVID-19 positive cases at NKG”. NKG is the abbreviation for the Nanjing Lukou Airport.

In the morning it is clear that 9 people from the cleaning staff at the airport is tested positive for Covid-19. To put in perspective, there haven’t been any local cases in Nanjing since March 2020. If a city get cases, they do city-wide testing and partial/full lockdown.

Getting tested

Message gets out, you have to have a negative Covid-19 test to be able to leave Nanjing by air, train or road. Ok, let’s find a testing spot. After some searching I get directed by Sissi (helping with accomodation and such here in Nanjing) guides me to a spot.

The time is 16:50 when I arrive at the test site. The heat is terrible, and the queue is even worse. I get in line. It is slow. Painfully slow. A long(!) story short… it takes me 5 hours and 42 minutes to get to the end of the line and get tested. Yes you heard right, almost 6 hours. I put my Apple Watch into recording mode to record the route. Actual moving time is 5 minutes and 14 seconds… new record for me in slow moving.

When finally getting home, close to 23:00, the rumor is that there will be no test results from today’s mass testing… They take 10 individual samples, put together in one test. If negative, all 10 are cleared green. If positive, all 10 will be summoned upon to retest, to find the one that was positive… A smart way to test 10 million people through only 1 million tests… But probably very error prone method. And, at the end, Krister will not get a individual test result!!

And it gets worse…

Flight cancellation

At noon Wednesday, I get a message ”Your flight from Nanjing to Beijing on Friday 23rd of July has been cancelled”!

Shit, now I don’t even have a connection to my flight from Beijing to Stockholm. Panic! Starting to search for options. Apparently almost all flights from NKG are cancelled because of the covid cases.

Ah, there’s trains! Let’s book a train to Beijing and spend a night in Beijing while waiting for the flight. The travel time is between 3:30 hours and 5:00 hours depending of how many stops the fast train does.

But wait, I can’t use the train, because I have no valid negative test within 48 hours of me leaving Nanjing… So it is obvious that I can’t take the flight on Friday to Stockholm.

Rebook flight

I have to wait a week for the next flight since there is only one flight per week from Beijing to Stockholm. I tell this to my travel agency, please rebook me to next Friday. Their return answer surprises me, there is a flight this Sunday, on the 25th! Apparently Air China is now having two flights per week to Stockholm.

Ok, time to pick up speed again. Get a new test, with test result this time! Book a train and book a hotel. I find a train leaving Nanjing South at 15:20 on the 24th and I book a hotel in Beijing. Done! Finally a path!

Me and my assistant decides to go to Jiangsu Peoples Hospital early on the 23rd to get the test with the needed test result papers.

2nd Covid test

At 7:30 we meet up at the hospital. It is hot outside, already sweating like never before. A humid sauna outside.

After a while of searching our path in the giant hospital we end up at an information desk. Oh, sorry, we can’t do the tests with the result papers now, because of the mass testing situation… gaahh!

Find another hospital… Good thing I have Frank with me, would never had done any of these with my level of Chinese or phone translation.

We go a few hundred meters east to the Brain Hospital, specialized on…yes brains.

We register myself and pay the 80 RMB fee to do the test including result papers. This time the test is in the throat, oh I hate it, almost throws up when they tickle me in the back of my throat. Nose tests are not nice, but for me, better.

We are told that the test result will be ready in the afternoon(!) tomorrow, on the 24th. Oh shit, that’s too late. The train leaves at that time. What to do? Yep, just reschedule the train.

New train is booked at 20:06 in the evening of the 24th. Should give some time to get the test result in. But still tight.

Waiting…

Now I am sitting on the balcony, waiting for new news, or no news, or…

Rumor now is that Beijing might quarantine everyone that arrives from Nanjing… I don’t want that… that kills everything.

Hold your thumbs…. to be continued…

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