Now we’re flying over the ocean. Thirteen hours. (zzzzz……….) We saw three in-flight movies – Mission Impossible III, Nacho Libre, and Inside Man. Not an eventful flight except for what I talked about yesterday.
We fly over Japan. We think we see Mt. Fujii but we’ll never know.
We fly over China and start landing procedures. We are flying low enough to see buildings. They are different than what we see in the United States, but not what I expected. These are modern buildings. They look Western not Oriental.
Wait…..I see red flags on the buildings! Yes, we are in China!
We land at an airport near Shanghai. The airport is surprisingly empty. It seems like there is no one else here but our flight.
We go through customs, but I fumble through my papers and discover that I forgot to fill out a form. The customs officer grows impatient with me and waves me through. We go through the security area and discover hundreds of people. Then it dawns on me. Like the USA, most people cannot enter the secure areas unless they have an airline ticket.
I see the first People’s Army officer. She is a female sentry standing guard by an entrance. She is standing at attention, eyes straight ahead. I am impressed.
Then we see our tour group’s flag. Our tour guide introduces himself and takes us to our bus.
My God, the buses in China have horns! No, no, no, not the horns that go “beep beep!”. China’s buses have horns in front like a goat. (They’re really mirrors, but they look like horns)
Our bus takes a freeway to Shanghai. It is night already. Surprise, China has freeways! They are well maintained and better illuminated than the ones back home. In fact, the lighted freeways are quite pretty, all sorts of different neaon lights and colors. I don’t think there is anything like this in the states.
I also notice that the freeway signs are written both in Chinese and English. That’s comforting in case we need to drive somewhere.
I am told that only the USA has more freeways than China.
I see maintenance men working on the freeway, but I don’t see any motorized equipment. I do see men working with pickaxes and shovels The maintenance is all done by manual labor.
We arrive in downtown Shanghai. Look at all the skyscrapers! This reminds me more of Manhattan than China.
We arrive at the Park Hotel, which is in the exact center of the city. It is an elegant old hotel. I bet it was THE place to go to back in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Every hotel in China has a console between the beds and an energy saver at the door. The console controls all the lights in the room. The energy saver turns off all the lights in the room when you remove your room key from the slot. If you don’t put your room key in the slot, then the lights do not go on. Every hotel in China was like this. It’s a good way to conserve energy.
Other than the freeway and city at night, we did not see that much of China on day 2. It is too late and too dark. We are tired. Time to go to bed. Tomorrow, we explore Shanghai.