I finally bought my ticket home to the States for when this trip is over, which was one of the most aggravating ticket purchases I've ever made. I've already got a ticket home through CLS, but that gets me in to New Haven a solid three weeks before my classes start, and what fun is that? I had wanted to just change the date of that ticket, and when I called the airline they were happy to help, except - oops! - because of the group ticket I have to travel the exact same series of flights in the exact same fare class, and sorry, that's not available any time in August. Nope, not possible to pay more to change to a different itinerary or a different fare class. Maybe contact your travel agent? Whose number I'm not supposed to have and who never answers the phone when I do get it. Chris and Kevin, who have to be back a few days early, did get in touch with her, and the change option she gave them was pricier than just buying a new ticket, so that's what they did, and subsequently so did I.
Getting the new ticket wasn't straightforward either. First, the internet is super-slow this week (apparently it's the week when everyone registers online for high school, so national servers are a little overwhelmed), so searching for flights takes ages. Second, Air China lies. So does Qatar Airlines. This was my life last night, on repeat for roughly an hour: kayak.com says there's a cheap fare on Air China! Go to their website. Actually, it's $3000. Nevermind. Reload kayak page. It doesn't exist after all. Reload again. There's a cheap fair on Qatar Air! Go to their website. Actually, it's $1600. There's that Air China one again! Act fast, only 4 tickets left at this price! Click. Sorry, due to changes in availability, this fare no longer exists. Reload. Lather, rinse, repeat ad infinitum on Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, et al. Give up. Bang head against wall. Go to bed.
This morning, with the internet behaving pretty well at quarter to six, I ignored the continued siren songs of China and Qatar and managed to nab a lone Emirates Air ticket that hadn't existed before. Paid about $100 more than I'd thought it would be (okay, about $1000 more, when you count the fact that I shouldn't have to have bought a ticket in the first place, stupid airlines), but getting to spend those extra two weeks in SE Asia is worth it, and frankly at this point I'm thrilled just to get the damn thing settled. The plan as of now is to visit a friend in Singapore for a few days, then hop a train up through Malaysia to Bangkok and see some of Thailand before flying home. (Turns out you have to have a visa in advance to visit Vietnam, and schlepping out to Jakarta to get one ain't in the cards.) And the cool part, aside from getting to fly Emirates Air, is that instead of going back east the way I came, over the pacific and the US, this time I'm flying west to Sri Lanka, Dubai, then over Europe and the Atlantic to JFK, which means I'll have circumnavigated the globe. From leaving JFK in June to arriving there in August, if I've counted right, will be 77 days. Close enough :-)