dimanche 25 novembre 2007
I am now back from my grand tour of Asia (okay, China and Korea for one week, but it was my first time on the continent after all).

I left Saturday afternoon from Marseille. Our flight was supposed to be at 12:10. The four of us, mom, dad, Alain and I arrived around 9:45. We sat and had a coffee and waited for my three traveling partners to arrive so that we could all check in together. Turns out, the flight, KLM to Amsterdam, was delayed two hours. Yikes. The airlines thought we would be able to make our connecting flight to Shanghai at 5:35, but there were no guarantees.

The other two travelers with me, T and P, arrived. The fourth was not going to be coming with us after all. We checked in, and then I said goodbye to mom and dad, who were leaving Monday to return to the US, and Alain.

Flights were uneventful, and we arrived in Shanghai Sunday morning at around 11 am. Did sleep a little on the plane, but the sleeping pills I had bought were not as powerful as I had hoped they would be. I wanted total knock-out and got fitful spurts. Ah well.

Made it through Chinese immigration and customs just fine, and found our driver. Thankfully the company we were visiting had sent their driver to fetch us. It was a long drive, we were exhausted, and apparently even Chinese have trouble driving in this area. So we made the drive from Shanghai airport to Wuxi, about two hours to the north-west. Three things that amazed my about China:
1) extremely clean, at least where we were. Armies of workers spent their time cleaning the streets. I wish Marseille would import at least 10,000 of them. There was also no graffiti anywhere. However, it is really true that they spit all the time. More on that later.
2) crazy drivers. They honk all the time, and will do death-defying stunts. I was glad I was sitting in the back. Many many people were on scooters and bikes. No helmets. Going the wrong way on the highway. Child in front (perhaps six years old) standing on the front of the scooter between the legs of the father who was driving, with the mother behind. Wow.
3) tons of new construction. Rows and rows of identical new apartment buildings being built everywhere.

We checked into our hotel and took off to explore the city. We had some horrid tea at this park area on the left, browsed the shopping areas, took photos, then went to eat. We asked at the hotel where would be a good place to eat. They made some recommendations. We went elsewhere. It was horrid- cold chicken and sun-dried hard as a rock shrimp. I could have choked it down, but the others wanted to leave, so we paid for what we had eaten and walked out. I felt bad. We found a place that can only be described as slightly better than hole in the wall. I was sure I would be sick the next day, but wasn't. It was fairly good, except for my octopus egg-crepe thing.
The lights of the city were amazing. Here is a picture of a restored temple. We went to bed early, being jet lagged and all.

1 commentaires:

lewis a dit…

welcome back, I also thought the driving was entertaining in Shanghai when visiting there several years ago. Guess the signals and lines are suggestions for the other person to use :-)

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