So a 10 hour plane trip doesn’t seem that long when you compare it to some of the long hauls that we’ve done (namely Australia – USA), but man, any flight over 3 hours is a long flight! Before we even left Australia we had our first embarrassing experience- dad walked into the ladies toilets without realising. We quickly took off and pretending we didn’t know him – he got shoo-ed out soon after! We flew Qantas, so service was reasonably decent (although Chuck really didn’t like her vego food – chickpeas and cous cous, ugh! [says her hehe]), but the entertainment was top notch. They have a new entertainment system – movies on demand – so you can watch whatever you want, when you want it. Chuck got her fill of movies!
All things done and said, arrival into Shanghai was easy and quick. After filling out the health card (“do you have sniffles?” “no [sniffle sniffle]”, “do you have a fever” “no [ooh it’s hot in here]! we got through and out into the arrival hall. After picking up our bags, we ran the gauntlet to get through past arrivals – so many people! We we’re supposed to pick up our tickets for our flight – so we grabbed a phone card and attempted to ring the dude… and he spoke only Chinese! I knew that this trip would be a great way to practice my ‘barely-there’ Chinese, but I didn’t realise it would be this soon! Stumbled through the phone call, and we arranged a place to pick up the tickets – my Chinese worked!!!
First hotel was interesting – a typical Chinese hotel, complete with a fantastic little restaurant. Little to no English though, so it was interesting to see what we got to eat! Up early the next day for our flight to Chengdu, just made it to the airport on time (as usual, whoops!). Chengdu was awesome – we went on a tour to see the pandas first up. They were so incredibly cute – we got to wander around and see the babies, and then have out photos taken with the olympic panda…
Train trip was sooooo long. But not unbearable. In usual O’Riley fashion, we stumbled onto the train, bags flying and feet tripping. Caught a taxi from our hostel to the station – just imagine the four of us, two large backpacks, 2 even larger suitcases, a small wheely suitcase and numerous handbags and bags of food all fitting in taxi – with a huge gastank in the boot! Taxi drivers at the station thought our driver was a legend for fitting us all in the car – I wasn’t so happy with a bag of coke wedged under my chin. Train trip was fun – the four of us in our little cabin, venturing out for dinner and lunch. Chuck went through 2 ipods, but the rest of us slept, read and slept for the 50 hours.
Now we are living the life of luxury – I booked us into a 4 star hotel and man, is it class! Gold fittings and marble everywhere, Chuck and I have the executive room, on the nice nice nice floor, whilst mum and dad are on the ‘ordinary people’ level. Hehe. Now we’re all relaxing after a taxing day of shopping, enjoying the offerings of room service and cable tv – this is the life!