Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

May 28 2012

London trip, part 1: Shanghai

It was supposed to be a leisurely morning, as our flight was in the afternoon, but that didn’t stop me from rushing out the door, late at 11. The weather was fine, and I halfway wished I had the weekend free. But no, I had better plans. I was off to the airport, to catch a flight to Shanghai.

After Chenbl’s customary scolding over my predilection for tardiness, we caught the airport bus and arrived in due time despite some congestion caused by construction. Window seats were gladfully approved after noting some similarities between the check-in woman and Lin Chi-ling, and lunch was had at a swank airport lounge overlooking a departing Singapore Airliner pulling away from the terminal as we consumed sandwiches and listened to airport announcements. It was very 1963.

Our flight was normal; we descended into the white mist of Shanghai over glassy waters and groups of shiny-roofed houses. The woman at immigration was sharp and angry. “Get over here! Now! Do you have an ROC passport? Well, don’t just stand there, show it to me! What was your flight number? What do you mean you don’t remember? Look at your ticket stub! Oh, for heaven’s sake!”

We hoisted our stuff up to the airport hotel. Well, “hoisted” is a bit of a stretch, as we’re traveling light. This is the first trip in years on which I haven’t bought a big camera with me. Yes, the Invincible Rabbit is sitting this one out, and I’m using a compact camera instead. We’ll see how it works, though so far I foresee battery life will be a significant problem. The Rabbit would go forever on one battery; this one runs out after only a few hours.

We were meeting up with John Pasden of Sinosplice fame at a restaurant off the Bund at 7pm. Unfortunately, I’d lost the address, and nobody seemed to have heard of the restaurant; The taxi driver certainly didn’t. We got out and walked around for a bit, periodically being accosted by touts asking if we wanted girls/sex/massages/digital watches, until I finally got John on the phone, and he told me the address. Turned out it was just around the corner.

We joined John and his wife at a trendy place called Lost Heaven, where we had a delicious meal and a great conversation. Afterwards we walked down the Bund to the old Waldorf-Astoria, full of ghosts from the 1930s. We sat and talked until midnight in one of the old building’s coves overlooking the street outside. It was great, but I was tired and nearly fell asleep in the taxi back to the airport hotel.  The taxi driver had no idea how to actually get to the hotel, and let us out on the highway to find the entrance for ourselves. Nice.

Tomorrow we’re flying to London. I’ve never been, and our hotel is located in a reportedly alarming place, but we’ll see, I guess.

posted by Poagao at 5:57 am  

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