Excited But Dazed, Tired, and Nauseous
Yeah, I know I said I would have to do without Facebook, Twitter, and my blog while in China. But I found a way around all of that.
Our Shanghai adventure has begun. After 14 hours we arrived after a fairy smooth plane trip, though my wife Stephanie nearly threw up during the landing.
Pudong airport seemed rather sleepy yesterday afternoon compared to O’Hare airport. There were far fewer people waiting in the baggage area than I expected. We cleared customs and immigration without any difficulties, and were greeted by the two TAs who will work for my wife Stephanie for the next month.
The young women, Zhonghui and Jiang, led us out to where the taxis line up. There was hardly any traffic on the arrivals level, with no cars or buses zipping by. Just taxis, and even those weren’t all too numerous. At O’Hare, both the arrivals and departures levels are flooded with cars, buses, hotel shuttles, and taxis all jamming their way into the spaces they want to be. Driving there is always a series of near accidents.
I thought, this quiet airport serves a city of 23 million people? How is this possible? Where is the legendary traffic?
We had to take two cabs, with my wife, daughter and one TA in one cab, and my son, me, and the other TA in the other cab.
Between the flight, the lack of sleep, the jet lag, and the cab ride that was like all cab rides in all busy cities of the world (including nearly rear-ending a stopped car on the highway), it was a bad combination for my son’s little stomach. Henry threw up. Fortunately, in my small backpack I had the wipes and I cleaned up the seat and his shirt.
We found out, after all of us had arrived at our hotel, that Meredith and Stephanie nearly threw up during their cab ride. Both were motion sick, like Henry.
Our hotel room, which will be our home for the next six weeks, is a suite on the 15th floor of the SISU Guesthouse. It has two rooms and two large beds, a small fridge, and two bathrooms.
Here’s the view from the window. You can see the Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower, and that ginourmous bottle opener is the Shanghai World Financial Center.
There are two flat screen TVs with over 50 channels. There are a variety of Chinese movies, news shows, talk shows, and TV shows, and Chinese movies with Chinese subititles. There is even one Spanish-language channel. But there is not one English-language channel. Good thing we brought some DVDs for the kids.
The TAs got us some takeout dinner (it cost us all of 30 yuan; roughly $5). We ate (the kids refused to try any of the food) and collapsed before seven. But Henry and Meredith were suddenly wound and were alternating between bickering and laughing when they eventually quieted down sometime after eight.
I slept until about 11:30 that night when I found myself wide awake. Then it took me a few hours to fall back into a deep sleep.
Our first full day in Shanghai started at 4am when Meredith burst into our room and announced, “Mommy, I’m hungry!”