We flew out of Detroit. Unlike the rest of the city, the Detroit airport is wonderful. We had a great hamburger there, thinking it would be our last for a while. (We were right.) The flight over was nonstop, Detroit to Shanghai, about four movies and three meals long. We had the new Delta "Extended" economy seating, with an extra four inches of leg room. It is totally worth the extra cost.
We left the U.S. on a Friday afternoon, and we arrived early Saturday evening in Shanghai. My first impression was that twilight is very short there. One minute you see that it is sunset, and the next minute it is pitch black. My second impression was that it was extraordinarily clean--surprise!! The bathrooms were immaculate.
Now, I am going to tell you a little story that my sweet husband is not proud of. They had changed the taxi stand location, and as we were looking for it, a man with a badge walked up to us and said, "Taxi?" We said yes, and he asked us to just follow him. He would get us a ride to the city.
DO NOT DO THIS. He took us out of the airport building, across the covered walkway and into the parking deck. At this point I had (EXTREMELY FOOLISHLY) handed him my bag that he had offered to carry. So we were stuck. In the parking deck, he assured us that he had a "Buick, very nice" for us to go to Shanghai in. This little bitty car pulled up, smaller than my parents' 1982 Buick Skylark. (They don't have that car anymore, BTW.) Nice badge-man loads our bags into the car and sends of packing with a much sketchier looking younger man. Bill and I are in the back seat. I wish I could tell you what I thought of Shanghai as we made our way in, but instead I was thinking, "OhmyLordwearegettingkidnappedandtheywilltakeourkidneysandwewillwakeupinsomeflophousein-
abathtuboficehowwillweexplainthistothekids?" For real.
On the way to the hotel our driver had made numerous phone calls to someone, apparently to get directions. This was a little mysterious since we were staying in a pretty popular part of town, near the stadium in Shanghai. Bill's partner, Charlie, and his wife, Jean, were waiting for us in the lobby of the hotel. Charlie fussed at us for such a dumb taxi move, and then yelled at the driver for trying to rip us off. It was always helpful to have someone with us who could yell in Chinese!
Unbelievably, I have no hotel pictures. I usually do better than that, but I just totally forgot to take any this time. We stayed at Hua Ting Towers, and it was a perfectly nice, Hilton-like hotel. There really is nothing remarkable to tell you about the hotel! We had a great breakfast buffet every morning, where you could tell that they catered to a truly international clientele. There were Asian, European and American breakfast favorites, along with baked beans. I was able to have my scrambled egg and a cup of coffee every morning to start my day off right. Apparently most hotels in Shanghai are very accustomed to hosting Westerners, so good breakfasts are pretty easy to find.
Starting with my next post I'll have a lot more pictures, because we took a ton of photos away from the hotel. Back later!