So here is what happend.
Flight to Beijing was going fine, in fact, better than most that I've been on. Lots of entertainment, a nice dinner of beef gravy, peas, and kumara (with a slightly perculiar colslaw, and obligatory bread roll), followed neatly by a passionfruit soaked sponge pudding, kiwi fruit biscuits and tea.
Then it went a wee pear shaped as things often do when they seem too good. While watching the flight channel (showing the plane over the globe, time to destination, ground speed, etc...) I noticed that we were veering off course slightly, then more and more until we were heading away from the airport. 'No wait' I thought, 'we're heading back again', 'must'av needed a different approach angle, or a gap in air traffic'.
Turns out there was a really rather large thunderstorm hovering above the Chinese capital... So we landed at an airport 200km away and waited (I watched the first half of season one of glee). After about 2 or 3 hours we took off again for Beijing. Making a fairly turbulent landing after another 40 minutes airtime I was finally at my half way point.
My connecting flight to Helsinki had left. I was quickly booked onto a flight that would take me to my final destination with a transfer at Stockholm's Arlanda airport. The flight was supposed to leave in 3 hours, though it actually left in about 9. So after running through what must be the largest airport ever, trying to collect my checked luggage from the carosel and recheck it (4 floors up. 4!), navigate customs, navigate the terminal lounge, and wait forever, I was on my way again.
This is what the airport gave me to eat while waiting, what I think were tofu balls, rice, soggy cabbage, crumbed fish, and weird pink sausage like product.
Arriving in Stockholm at 12am, after 8 hours of bordom on a flight without any entertainment, and questionable meals, I found that my transfer had left many moons ago. I was told that because I couldnt be found in the system they couldn't book me onto a flight so I would have to come back in the morning and do it myself. (They could, however, set me up in a hotel near the airport. For free, with easy transport, WIN)
Back to the airport at 5 in the morning after a shower and 3 hours sleep and the impression that I would be on a 7am flight (I was told with convincing sincerity that this was possible) I discover that people are unhelpful, and that all the counters that might be able to help me open around 6:00-6:30. Raspberries! Where next? Mc Donalds for breakfast of course! That breakfast menu was calling my name, and despite myself I cannot deny there is somthing soothing and reasuring about McD's in a foreign country. Desks open for me after a nice meal of crepe style swedish pancakes with strawberry preserve and a hash brown, flight is booked and I'm grinning like a freak all the way to customs. I spend the last of my 100 kronor on a bag of Daim chocholates and wait an hour and a half.
My flight is with Finnair and it is delightful. The sun is sunning, I'm drinking a hot cup of tea, and I don't have to sit next to anyone. At this point I am far beyond the any desire for contact from strangers.
Then at last I'm in Finland and I fly through customs without hassle.