Our flight to Shanghai leaves from Shenzhen at 20:05 (MU 5230) on China Eastern Airlines. I have to tell myself over and over again why I'm making it hard on us by leaving from Shenzhen instead of Hong Kong. The reason is that it costs a lot, lot less to travel domestic China if you leave from Shenzhen
. The best flight I could find from Hong Kong to Shanghai was around $100 USD more than the flights from Shenzhen. I got our flights to Shanghai from Shenzhen for around $100 each which isn't great, but I saved $300 by opting for a Shenzhen departure. Now, the only trouble is getting there. It's a hassle. We essentially have to do the same trek that we did when we arrived from Bangkok backwards. I had checked out before we went to the restaurant and the bellboy went and retrieved our bags from our room. When we arrived back to the hotel, the bellman loaded up our luggage into a taxi and sent us off to a bus station that has a bus that goes to ShenzhenAirport every 15 minutes. We arrived, took all our bags out, and Mickell went up and bought tickets. The tickets were 50 HKD each and loaded our bags on the bus and took the 3:15. The bus took us to the Hong Kong border and we then got off, unloaded all of our bags and went to customs and Hong Kong border control. After presenting our passports and departure cards, we then went through China mainland immigration and passport control. After these two security checks, we then took our bags and loaded on a different bus that would take us to Shenzhen Airport An interesting aspect of this is that the bus on the HK side had the steering wheel on the right side of the car and we drove on the left side of the rode (since HK used to be a British territory). China drives on the same side of the road that we do in the United States so that was a switch. It'll be interesting to see as the years progress how/if China further integrates Hong Kong. For now, it's still wholly separate.
The bus let us off at the airport and we unloaded our bags yet again. We had been apprehensive about this check-in process since the airline only allows 20kg each for checked baggage. We easily have 80 kg, again thanks to our Vietnam purchases and the purchases we made in Hong Kong
. Unlike Air Asia, this airline charges 1000 Yuan if you're over the weight limit. We really wanted to avoid this since the economics of our bargain purchases was at risk. So, Mickell amazingly re-arranged everything and somehow pulled out the heavy stuff and put it in an extra duffel bag that we brought that would meet the requirements for carry-on. He meticulously weighed each bag before we left the hotel. So, the moment of truth had arrived and we went to the check-in counter and one by one they weighed the bags. Mine weighed in at 19.5 kg, Major's weighed in at18.5 kg, the GiGi bag as we've come to call it weighed in at 16 kg, and Mickell's bag weighed in at 20kg. The gate agent checked us through without incident and we were home free.
We made our way through security where we got stopped again thanks to Major's toy snakes. We had 2 hours to wait so we hung out in a restaurant until it was boarding time. I took a vacation day for work today since we're traveling during the time when I'd need to be working if I wanted to maintain US hours. I am backing up my boss though while he's on vacation and I have a 4:30 AM call that I have to take. I'm not looking forward to that. We board the flight right on time and we're pleasantly surprised that our seats are close to the front this time. We sat on the runway for a great deal of time due to air traffic. Also, there was a lot of lightening in the area
. We ended up being an hour late because of the delay. I was hoping to arrive at Shanghai before midnight so we could see the beautiful lights along the Bund again. That wasn't going to happen. We arrived at Pudong International at 11:15pm and we decided that we'd check our baggage into lockers rather than drag them with us to the hotel. We arrived in terminal 1, but our flight tomorrow leaves from terminal 2. Still, it's so late we decide to check the bags in the T1 side and just come claim them tomorrow and make the trek to T2. It's late and we're all tired. We check th bags for 60 Yuan (a great bargain) and then head to catch a taxi into town. Unfortunately, the Maglev train is already closed for the evening. We wait in the taxi queue and then make the long drive. It seemed especially long this time. I guess it took almost an hour and we got into a traffic jam at 1AM! We finally arrived at the hotel, got checked in and settled into our room. Major laid down and Mickell went out to get us some noodles, hopefully from the place around the corner that we enjoyed when we first got here 5 weeks ago!
The Fairmont Hotel was once again just perfect. They had even remembered our pillow preferences. Major was nearly asleep when Mickell arrived with the food. I had been trying to get my computer to start-up, but to no avail. I took the battery out and reset it, I changed power ports, and finally I called IBM HELP to get assistance. They determined that the system board had probably malfunctioned and that I'd need a new laptop. So, they agreed to overnight a new one to me in Georgetown so it will be waiting for me when I arrive tomorrow night. After the laptop troubles, the food is a welcome break. I really enjoy the Shanghai noodles. I have a conference call at 5am that I have to take for my boss, but I decide to go to bed for a couple of hours and then take the call (even though today is a vacation day). I figure I've taken so many vacation days lately, that I should definitely fill in if asked. Off to bed I go for a couple of hours.
Yesterday was a whirlwind. I slept until 11AM after working until 5am. We had opted to skip breakfast this morning since we wanted to have dim sum for lunch. Mickell had found out about a great dim sum place that was over in the Langham Place Mall called Jasmine Garden. Major was a good sport with the different food. The best I could find to order him was some plain old steamed rice. I had wanted to get Mickell the Shark's Fin soup, but we opted against it because it was 160 HKD for a bowl. We had some wonderful sweet potato pancakes and dumplings along with some honey pork that Major nibbled on. Mickell had a Tsing Tao along with some tea for the table.