Well, after 22 hours of travel (and probably over 48 hours without a good sleep), I was ready to get off my last plane and navigate the Guangzhou airport. I had felt unwell during the plane ride (headache, feverish, and sore stomach), but by the end of the plane ride I was OK, or so I thought. While waiting to deplane, I began to feel faint, the light-headed type that happens when you stand up too fast. I have a history of fainting, but only when my body is severely shocked (after getting a piercing or giving blood). Of course, as luck would have it, I fainted.
The flight attendants promptly sat me down in a seat and brought me cold water to drink and wet tissues for my forehead. They offered juices and candy which I politely declined, not feeling in a position to eat or drink anything besides the water. They brought the candy anyway, which I accepted and pocketed. They then went and found a wheelchair and wheeled me through the entire airport, customs, baggage claim and all! I was so grateful that they went above and beyond to help a sick, exhausted foreigner. I thanked them and they said no, no, it’s our job.
I was set to meet Daniel, a representative of the agency that helped me meet with and find a family to stay with. I was wheeled through the area with people holding signs, looking for a) a sign in English, and b), my name in English. No luck. One of the flight attendants went back though looking, and I found Daniel’s number (which I almost didn’t write down), and called him using the other flight attendant’s phone. Turns out he, and most of the family, just walked by me because they thought it was me, but were put off by the wheelchair.
All in all, I’m glad there are so many people in China (12 million in Guangzhou alone!), because the chances of me seeing anyone who witnessed my fainting on the plane or my wheeled procession through the airport are VERY slim!