Arrived Safely

Trip Start Jun 15, 2007
Trip End Jun 24, 2007

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Flag of China  ,
Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ni Hao

Flights to Asia are not fun and the jet lag can last for days.
But I actually had a good flight. For weeks I had been talking about going across the Pacific, but our connecting flight in Chicago headed north into Canada across the Hudson Bay and to the Arctic. I had fun following along on my personal GPS screen. As we flew below the polar cap and headed into Asia I felt as if I was playing Risk with names like Siberia and Irkutsk popping up frequently on the map.

I actually slept some on the plane, which is rare for me. The ride in "steerage" was not too bad. I sat with some of the Howard Community College (Maryland) students on the plane. They are taking part in the Chinese language and cultural immersion program at Soochow University that Carolyn and I will be observing in Suzhou.

We got to Shanghai around 2 p.m. on Saturday. Carolyn and Ben got in 15 minutes before us and were there waiting in baggage. Shanghai was smoggy and muggy (My throat is still burning some.)
Shanghai of course is much bigger than 10 years ago and still has lots of contruction as this city of 16 million continues to grow. We hope to take a day trip here later next week.  

After a bus ride (provided by Soochow University). We made Suzhou around 5 p.m. We ate with the students and then walked around our area. We are staying in a modest hotel about 15 minutes walking distance from the university.

Just in the brief time I have been here, I have noticed Suzhou has changed a lot. (I was here for three days 10 years ago.) On the way in we saw these massive industrial parks that were actually intriguing because of their landscaping and beautiful modern gardens. Some of the landscaping including large abstract statues. There were dozens of new apartment complexes nearby. Most were 10 stories or higher.
It is unseasonably cool - high 60s, and comfortable for walking outside. Unfortunately it is very humid and what's even worse is that the hotel has decided to turn off the AC because of the lower temperature outside. Hopefully, opening some windows in my room will help to cool things off. We are on the fourth floor and there is no elevator so hauling our luggage was a chore. This is the China I remember. In Shijiazhuang 10 years ago classrooms were always on the fourth and fifth floors. I always tell people China is a great place to lose weight because you walk everywhere and there are lots of steps. Who needs stairmaster -- LOL! And the great thing is you eat well and anything you want so you don't have to diet.

The hotel does not have the Internet. We could not find a reliable Internet cafe at first so went back to the hotel. But then Ben and I woke up around 2 a.m. and went out walking again and we came across a cafe with high speed so we will see how this works. 
I'll post more on Sunday.
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