Feb 25, 2012
Aug 14, 2012
Where I stayed
On a plane for 20 hours!
! From Detroit to Tokyo we flew on the biggest plane I have every seen with two levels of passengers and and plenty of room to roam around. Our flight was half full maybe so there was ample room to spread out. Kyle and I enjoyed the movies and the time together snoozing on and off. I was ecstatic to be on the ground by the time we arrived to China. Leaving America wasn't hard because Kyle was coming with me, it seemed like a normal trip together, except I was way overpacked! We arrived in Shanghai a little nervous about the quarantine issues and also getting our luggage ok. We walked through what looked like metal detectors which instead read everyone's temperatures for swine flu detection. I was disappointed, I wanted to video tape the men in jumpsuits taking temperatures and carrying people away like some kind of alien invasion on our plane! ha! Instead the people with high body temps were pulled to the side for further probing. BORING! Our luggage was successfully delivered along with us...check! Our first issue came when we discovered the Maglev train going from the airport into Shanghai was closed. Why the hell Lonely Planet doesn't think train hours of operation is an important detail to mention to travellers carring 5000 lbs of luggage around a non air conditioned airport I don't know! I wasn't happy. And yes of course I tried to speak Chinese and ask why no train, but "everyone speaks Engligh at the Shanghai airport don't worry" is not true! In fact, if you ever want to scare a Chinese person away from you just start speaking English....if they don't know how to speak English they RUN
! not walk, RUN away terrified. lol. not every time. Our next problem came after trekking around looking for the bus terminal for about half an hour I had to take clothes off because of the dripping sweat, it was hot and humid in the airport; a sauna to be exact. Once we found the bus we needed we discovered that (the next to leave 1 hour later and it was already 10:00 pm and we had a 1 hour bus ride into the city) they wouldn't take American bills. Nothing was open for currency exchange, no bank, no currency exchange counters at the airport near us anyway, nothing! So after panic and broken Chinese pleas, one brave Chinese soul agreed to trade us her yuan for our $20 bill so we could get on the bus. I call this LUCK. We arrived a bus ride and quick taxi over to our hostel and checked in. Luckily our dorm room was airconditioned and we were able to relax a bit. We had arrived in China!
How do you wake up and prepare to fly to China to live for a year? I still don't know, I read the books I talked with friends and family, it still never really felt comfortable. Moving away takes courage, I had it much easier still because my family in China was a familiar one. Still I had no sleep really, tossing and turning all night. The night before we left the USA we planned to stay at a hotel near the airport for convenience. Getting to Jacksonville was quite hectic due to interstate detours from road constructrion in the middle of the night. After finally arriving at our hotel, and spending hours on the phone saying our goodbyes in the car, we caught maybe 5 hours of sleep before hitting the road again. The departure to detroit for our connecting flight was relatively smooth except our luggage was too heavy and weights had to be shifted around before checking it. I made a mess scrambling to get the weights under control while frantically apologizing to the the line of people waiting patiently. Ha! We made it though and that was all that mattered at that point