Tuesday, July 28, 2009

China Trip 2

Day 2- Technically- Thursday
Technically it is day 2 of the China trip. I, however, am still in the plane. We have an hour and a half left of our 13 hour flight. It’s 2:05pm Thursday in Shanghai, and 1:06am back home. I must admit that the plane (a Boeing 777 I think) is very nice. We all have tiny movie screens on the back of the seat in front of us.

Barb and I "scared" on the plane before takeoff.

I have kept busy thus far. I started “My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Piccoulti. I only read about 120 pages on and off. I also played solitaire and Battleship. I watched “Seventeen Again” and “Confessions of a Shop-a-holic” which were both pretty cute movies. I’m glad I didn’t rent them for G and I to watch, but the choices are pretty limited. I also got some pretty uncomfortable naps in. My back hurts and my neck hurts, but most of all, my nose hurts. It’s hard to breathe up here. The altitude is 40,000 ft. So far our speed has ranged between 500-615mph (I think that’s about the highest I’ve seen it).

Barb has been writing down our stats at different points in the trip, and I will share those later.
The menu? We had some beef, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, salad with your choice of chicken or beef in it, cookies, a roll, crackers and cheese for lunch. I wasn’t even close to hungry when they brought our dinner, but I ate it anyways. It was a delicious ham and cheese croissantwitch with Dijon mustard. Just now they brought us a snack of either pizza or noodles. I chose noodles…. Because… well… I’m in China! Earlier we got some mixed nuts and sesame which was also delicious. I think I gained 5 lbs just on this flight. Ugh.

I miss my little V already. There are tons of babies on this flight and each time I see one of them I think of him. But I know he is doing great at home! More updates later…

Day 2 still- It took forever, but we’re finally in Shanghai! The first thing we saw was a sci-fi looking group(dressed in protective clothing, gloves, face masks, goggles, and even booties as if the virus could get under their pant leg) of Chinese officials who waved radar guns across our foreheads to make sure we didn’t have the H1N1 virus. They also had a moth thermometer incase the first one didn’t read. Barb’s didn’t the first time, so she had to use the mouth thermometer. It would have sucked to be quarantined! We stepped off the plane into an eerily quiet airport. I got in trouble (not really, but waved at) for using my camera. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to, but it turned out there was a sign that said no cameras. That sign, coincidentally, said to “be quiet.”Oh yeah, and no cell phones. It took awhile to get through the airport, but we finally made it out to a taxi.

I got in trouble for taking this picture at the airport...before I saw the sign.

Oh man! The taxi ride was a nightmare. The seat said “For your safety, buckle up”. But there weren’t any buckles! The guy we got (it seemed) didn’t want to take us, but his boss said yes. So off we went. I forgot to mention that it was raining… that’s an important part of this story.

Anyways, off we went. Then, our taxi started to overheat! We Americans, we take shoulders (of the road) for granted. But in China, there aren’t any! So cars were swerving around us and they were ALL honking, as if our driver didn’t’ notice he was stopped in highway in the rain. Next, a cop (silently… he has lights, but no sirens) comes by and starts yelling at him, and just drives off! No help! So our poor little driver gets a 2 liter bottle and starts filling it up with rain water running down the street to cool down the car!

This episode happens twice. And each time we stop (which is at least once a minute or two) he has to shut the car off and restart again. We did make it alive to the hotel though!
Another thing about driving… The Chinese have 4 lanes, “passanger, light cars, light-heavy, and trucks” or something like that. There are actually lines that mark the different lanes, but I think they were just put there for decoration, because NO ONE uses them! They just swerve in and out avoiding other cars and honking, a lot. There are a ton of bicycles and motorbikes. Traffic is a nightmare!

We got off the plane at about 4:45 (their time) and got to our hotel at 7:45 I’m pretty sure. As soon as we got here, Gloria called to see if we wanted to go shopping, which we did. I didn’t get too into it today, because I’m not good with the bargaining thing yet. Nothing is priced. They hand you a calculator and tell you to put a price… it’s hard if you don’t know the currency or how much stuff is worth. Plus, if I get stuff today I have to cart it around for 3 weeks.

Nanjing Road is famous for its pedestrian mall.
Everyone was hungry during the shopping trip, so they stopped at McDonald’s (yep…). But Barb and I weren’t even close to being hungry because we ate so much on the plane. We sat outside and waited and these kids came up to offer us some of their cigarettes and I think to mess with us a little bit. They were laughing and the people behind us were laughing… at us… but after a few minutes they were being really sweet (I think?). Especially the girl. She kissed Barb before she walked away, which made it seem like she was being genuine. Of course… we don’t speak a word of Chinese so we’ll never know.

There are tons of peddlers here, each one trying to get you to buy some crazy thing. I will give in eventually (Barb did!) but I didn’t today. I’m pretty sure I got called a B* for not buying a laser lighted spinning top… (now that I think about it though... a lot of Chinese words sound like something in English, but totally isn't...)

Tomorrow will be another travel day. We will be going from Shanghai to Huai’an. It will probably be a long day and I haven’t slept in almost 48 hours, so I better get some sleep. I was barely able to keep my eyes open for our taxi ride. I might have even started to doze… I’ll tell you more when I can.

post script:
The posts will get better as I go along, but for now, I haven't even finished writing about my trip...

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