Monday, June 27, 2011


Yesterday, we awoke early, still not getting our time zones regulated. With only 6 hours of sleep, we ended the day nearly exhausted. However, we did walk a lot. Ron had a few places he wanted to go so rather than sit in a motel room all day, I went along.

We took the shuttle bus back to the airport and then took a bus to somewhere in the city. This may sound strange to most people but in a city as large as Shanghai, but I have no idea how far we went. The population of Shanghai is 23,019,148 so the city goes on and on. There are huge high-rise apartment buildings after apartment buildings. I was thinking as I looked from the bus, how would you ever find your apartment again? Maybe in one whole section, all of the buildings look the same. Then where you do see houses, the rooftops look like they are touching each other. This picture was taken from the bus, but you can see the houses in the foreground and the high-rise apartment buildings in the distance.

Beijing by comparison is 19,600,000 people. I thought it was the largest city but Shanghai has more people. In either city, you can travel for many hours and not be across the city. (The entire population of the U.S. is 307,006,000 and China is 1,331,460,000.)

We found the place we were going after taking a taxi after we got off the bus. Then we had to walk a while in the hot sun (about 90 degrees). We got directions to the subway system and were told it would take us all the way back to the Pudong Airport, which is near our hotel. We found fewer people who could speak English in Shanghai. We would have thought it would be the other way around. Shanghai is a business center for world corporations and many U.S. businessmen are on every flight to Shanghai.

It was a much more confusing subway system than in Beijing. English names are written very small. When they announce the stop over the loud speaker, they also say it in English, but there’s so much noise that you can hardly understand what they are saying. To ride the subway, you have to watch the map display and pay attention to the stops. There are many more lines than in Beijing. They intersect going in every direction. It’s not easy to trace where you are and what lines you have to change to before you can reach your destination. When we finally got on Line 2, the line to the airport, we still had to change twice more (still Line 2). It literally stopped about halfway and everyone got off and started waiting for the next one. We got on the next one and traveled for a while and then almost everyone got off again. Since a few people stayed on, we asked someone about the airport and they said we had to go across and get on it going the other direction. We were skeptical since the way we were heading had an arrow pointing to the airport. However, we thought the boy spoke with authority and people who can speak English and understand have always been helpful. We watched the next stop and we were heading the right way after all. It was a very confusing line. We never had that happen in Beijing. No one over the age of 40 rides the subways. I know why. There are many steps and long distances between lines. I guess we must have walked at least 5 miles yesterday.

When we arrived at the Pudong Airport, we looked at the airline arrival schedule and realized that Lily, our translator, would be coming in soon. We found a restaurant and had dinner while we waited. We had skipped lunch entirely with our wanderings around. I ordered shrimp fried rice, green vegetables and hot green tea. Ron had a fresh fruit bowl and Japanese Tofu. He helped me with the greens. It was very delicious.

Becky and Lily at Breakfast
When we finished dinner we saw that Lily’s plane had been delayed and it would be another hour before she arrived. We decided we were too tired to wait and with no seats in that area, we decided to return to the hotel. Lily arrived safely and came to room about two hours later. Lily said she would go back to the airport at 9:45 to meet Becky arriving from Narita, Japan. Becky’s flight the night before was cancelled for some reason. Nowadays, if the airline doesn’t practically fill up a flight (even if it’s the only one out that day), they cancel the flight. The plane might have had mechanical problems. We will find out the reason today when we see Becky. Since airlines don’t put people up in hotels anymore, they really don’t care how inconvenient it is for passengers. Some people are scheduled to make connecting flights elsewhere but just have to deal with the delays the best way they can. Flying is more difficult these days for many reasons.

Today, we will check out at noon and take the subway to the other airport. We fly out late today for Nanning. The airports are about an hours’ drive apart. Like all cities, the traffic at the end of the day can make a one hour drive turn into two hours so we really have to plan ahead and sometimes get to the airport much too early to be sure we make it.

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