Friday, November 16, 2007

China Odyssey, Days 1,2 - Seattle to Shanghai

This post begins a series which is somewhat different from our usual motor-home travels. On November 15, 2007, we embarked on a trip by air to China. While there, we sent home a series of e-mails describing our tour. This group of posts is extracted from those e-mails, with the addition a small sampling of the thousands of photographs which we took over the course of our 25 day tour.

Days 1,2 - Seattle to Shanghai
Thursday / Friday Nov. 15/16
The Easy Button

You may be wondering why this travel day has two dates. It’s because we crossed the international date line, that’s why.

The easy button describes our travel experience from Seattle to Shanghai. Of all the travel gremlins that could intervene, none did. Our Northwest flights were smooth and uneventful, although very long. It was almost 10 hours from Seattle to Tokyo. The plane change through Tokyo was pretty smooth except for one minor incident. In Japan you must go through security screening while changing planes. Fortunately, the Japanese counterpart to TSA are courteous and efficient. As we were reassembling after the screening, a young Japanese girl went running past us with an item of clothing in her hand yelling at the top of her lungs "Jackata, Jackata". Yes you guessed it. It was Keith’s jacket. Fortunately we were able to catch up to her and retrieve the jacket as she rushed down the stairway.

Kathy Rides the Seattle Airport Shuttle

Our Steed

The flight from Tokyo to Shanghai was an uneventful 4 hours. When we deplaned in Shanghai, our tour guide Scotty was there to meet us at the exit from baggage claim.

Shanghai Tour Guide Scotty

Our impressions of Shanghai on the ride from the airport were favorable. A super highway was our conduit. There are colorful billboards everywhere. Most are bilingual, with the second language invariably English. We found this to be the case throughout China.

Shanghai brings alive the growing, changing China theme, with new construction everywhere. Driving from the airport to the hotel, we thought we were in Cleveland, but on steroids. As we approached the city there are many skyscrapers, each architecturally unique. We took photos, but they did not turn out because we were traveling after dark. We arrived at the hotel and crashed. Shanghai is 13 time zones ahead of the Eastern US, and were enroute for almost 26 hours.

The Park Hotel where we stayed in Shanghai is located in the center of the city. It is not quite the Marriott, but very nice. Our first challenge was figuring out the lighting system. All lights in the room were operated by a panel located between the beds. You could not activate the panel unless your key card was inserted in a special slot by the door. Not a bad system, once you figure it out. We found the same system throughout China. We quickly learned that the room card also activated the heat. We subsequently learned that any piece of cardboard would keep the heat on while we were out touring, so the room was warm when we returned.

Food has been very good, so far. Shanghai style Chinese is very bland, but tasty.

The Park Hotel

Our Bedroom


The View from Our Room

No comments: