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March 19, 2022

Go East! No? Go West!

Columbian Monomania-Episode 7

Heidi allowed me to send messages to her wechat (mistakes and all), knowing I'd also share with you

This way you get more of an hour-by-hour description of my journey. This starts on Tuesday morning at the Kunming airport.

Going East: Kunming > Beijing > Taipei > Los Angeles > Bogota > Medellin

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Why and why now?

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The ticket agent asked for my documented quarantine plans for Taipei. When I explained I was just in transit, he did further research and found a (probable) new policy that prohibits the Taipei airport

being used for transit.

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My luggage was 23 kg for international, but then flying back to Kunming, I had to take 3 kg out to get it under the 20 kg domestic limit.

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If I'm going to do a Dwight-Now splurge with a Burger King Whopper, I do it my way. I love ketchup. I need 15 ketchups to have enough when eating my Whopper.

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Going West: Kunming > Bangkok > Qatar > Madrid > Bogota > Medellin

When I got back to Kunming, I was thinking I would take two to three weeks before I tried again. But yesterday I asked the question, "Is there any good reason not to try right away?" The good reasons lie mostly on the "let's do it soon" side.

I could wait until the pandemic subsides, but who knows when that will happen? 

Heidi and I together started exploring the options of traveling West instead of East, connecting through Bangkok, Singapore, or maybe Jakarta. Bangkok seemed to offer the best options. To use Bangkok for transit I just had to have a less than 72-hour PCR test, along with some COVID-related health insurance of at least $20,000. Going West seemed to reduce the chances of getting stymied by the COVID restrictions. In addition, there were better connections and more interesting places to layover in the airports, like Qatar and Madrid.

I thought "no problem," until started looking into buying a day's worth of traveling health insurance. Several times I reached an impasse of "not for anyone over 70" or "not for anyone over 75." Finally, I was able to purchase some insurance. I even opted for the zero deductible to ensure that it would not be questioned.

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The advantages

This package of flights does cost a bit more than the others which didn't work. The flights together come out to $1444.32. Then add in $43.10 for the health coverage. It seems that this trip insurance even covers reimbursement if my trip is interrupted, which I wasn't even looking for.

One big benefit of this western trip over the eastern one, instead of 84 hours in length, it's only 44 hours (plus 11 minutes)! It's still a much longer flight trip than I have ever taken before.

  • Starting at 3:30 PM from Kunming this Thursday, April 14th.

  • It's two hours and 3 minutes to Bangkok via Thai Vietjet Air.

  • A layover of 3 hours and 25 minutes.

  • It's 7 hours 15 minutes from Bangkok to the Qatar Doha Hamad International Airport via Qatar Airways.

  • A layover of 8 hours and 10 minutes.

  • Then 7 hours and 35 minutes to the Madrid Barajas Airport in Spain.

  • A layover of two hours and 5 minutes.

  • Then 10 hours and 30 minutes to Bogota in Colombia.

  • Then a layover of an hour and 44 minutes.

  • Then 57 minutes to Medellin via Viva Air Colombia, arriving this Friday, April 15th at 10:41 PM.

I get to experience three new airlines.

Missing my kitties

Holly still has Smokey and Princess. It doesn't make sense to bring them back for this short week I am back home. I still miss them every morning when they are not there to greet me.

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Start of Columbian Monomania

click here

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