Sunday, March 13, 2016

Leaving on a Jet Plane (China)

We arrived at Lambert Airport well ahead of our scheduled flight to Chicago. As we were checking our bags, the clerk asked us if we were flying to China via Chicago to which we answered yes. She looked at us oddly,

"Aww yeah, you aren't flying out of Chicago today."

I just stared at her like "what the heck."

Evidently, unbeknownst to us, Chicago was getting eight inches of snow and therefore all flights out of O'Hare International Airport were cancelled. Panic (Ok, just for a second) Then we were rerouted to San Fransisco.Thus begun the long long trip to Shanghai China.

The flight to California was an hour later than our original flight to Chicago and we had a slightly longer layover there thus making our arrival in Shanghai a bit later than expected. Thanks to Facebook I was able to relay our change in plans to Rhonda and all was right with the world again!

Even though it was early afternoon our time the flight attendants preceded to feed us then turned off all the lights, put on a movie and basically told us to shut the window blinds and go to sleep. But not before we got our first taste of China. Green Tea Gelato....I didn't think it was all that great but had I known the other desserts we would encounter on the trip I would have appreciated it more!

 When we arrived (like 12 hours later but a full day later due to international date line) it was much easier navigating the airport than I thought it would be. We made it through the doors and there was Rhonda (a sight for sore eyes) and her driver Evan. We hopped in the car and he took us to a local noodle place that he had suggested, Boy was he right! The noodles were delicious (that is after I managed to get them onto those darn chopsticks!

We were super tired but it was so great talking with Rhonda. She is a FABULOUS host and tour guide. A real wealth of information and it makes seeing the local sights so much more interesting because we got a real inside look into the city.

Our first advice from Rhonda was to rest our chopsticks on our bowl rather than just stick them in the bowl/food. Evidently doing so means "death" and is considered bad luck. Who knew!  As we would come to discover there is a lot of focus on wishes and luck in the Chinese culture. (They probably need it to maneuver those darn chopsticks)

We headed to Rhonda's house in the largest city in the world, home to 24 million documented people, and that's not counting all the undocumented people, of which there are plenty. Evidently if you live in any other area of China you are not allowed to travel freely and live wherever you want, therefore many come to Shanghai to work but they are not really allowed to have homes or cars while in the city. Many of these undocumented workers live in makeshift homes. I stared out the car window at high rise after high rise, apartments for millions and millions of people.


They all seem the same...beige or gray....the city landscape is not colorful at all....

The only tidbits of color are the pieces of laundry hung out to dry on the balconies or on rods outside the windows.

I feel asleep quickly but found myself wide awake at 3:00 am waiting for a full day of adventure in this ancient country. 

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