Shanghai 2012: Flight home and after-thoughts

Introduction and Flight on AA
Google Maps in China
Sheraton Changzhou Xinbei Review
Changzhou Summary
Intro to China High Speed Rail (CSR)
Cantonese Food and Ramen in Shanghai
Intercontinental Shanghai Puxi Review
Nanjing (City Wall, Nanjing Massacre Memorial, Purple Mountain)
Suzhou (Tiger Hill, Humble Administrator’s Garden)
Changzhou Tianning Temple
Hangzhou (West Lake, Leifeng Pagoda, Longjing tea)
Flight Home and After Thoughts

My flight was at 4PM to ORD on AA. The previous day I got back to my hotel late and left the packing for Sunday since I had all day. I got breakfast at the Intercontinental Puxi where I was staying and started packing afterwards. It was only when I was leaving that I realized it was the Shanghai F1 Grand Prix that day on Sunday. I am still regretting not trying to stay an extra day so I could attend as my brother went to it last year.

As I had a heavy piece of luggage, I hired a taxi to the airport. I just did not want to lug my bag around the metro. The taxi driver drove as if he was on his last qualifying lap in the grand prix. It was nuts. This was the only taxi where I had to lean into the corners since back then, there were no such thing as seat belts in the back seats. I later learned that this is the reason why most people sit in the front of the taxi for the seat belt. Now the law says that all passengers need to put on their seat belts, but still difficult as most taxi rear seats has a seat cover that covers the seatbelt.

The flight home was pretty uneventful. I couldn’t get the bulkhead seat this time but was able to sit by the window in the mini forward coach cabin behind business class, which was quieter. However, there were two infants in that area that was being fussy for parts of the plane ride. I did manage to completely ignore them and get to sleep for a few hours.

It was definitely a bad choice to fly out of Shanghai on Sunday, land in Boston on Sunday and go to work the following Monday. The entire week, I was exhausted and only able to stay awake until about 3pm. I take a 40 minute commuter rail train into work so I couldn’t go to work early. The earliest train gets near work at 7am. This sucked as i woken up at about 3am everyday that week. Somehow, the jet lag got worst the second week. Jet lag completely eliminated any desire to train or run for the impending marathon.

China was a great experience and it was totally worth it to travel around the Shanghai area. There are many things that keeps me from going back, like the air quality, the crowds, and the manners of Chinese people. I used my New York attitude and I was very aggressive when walking around the city. This definitely helped to keep me calm.

As I was actually bigger than most people there, I used this advantage to push people out of the way. The first one was on an escalator. Woman decides that she wants to stand on the left side of the escalator, even though there was no one in front of her and everyone else was standing to the right. Well tough for her as I squeezed by her and hip and bag checked her into the escalator. I had a 40lb pack on. The second case was someone standing right in front of the center of the doors of the train. There is even etiquette in China that you stand to the side and squeeze into the train on the two sides of the doors while people exit through the middle. Well I ran right into him. He was in the middle of his sentence before my shoulder met his face. He stopped talking.

Rules and laws don’t really apply to scoters and bikes, or it seems that way. Major roads have a dedicated section for scoters and bicycles and the direction of traffic is supposed to be one way. The scoters and bikes tend to go both ways on either side of the road so when I cross an intersection, I always have to look in 8 different directions to make sure a scoter or bicycle isn’t trying to cut a corner or make a turn right into me. The elevated crosswalks are great for pedestrian safety but it is very annoying as it is high off the ground level and takes more time to cross the intersection.

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