Last time I was in China, Kim Jong-il was still alive, and so were Margaret Thatcher and Roger Ebert. How the world changes in a span of six years! It was actually just a day-trip to Shenzhen, where they keep the fascinating Windows of the World, but to step foot on the motherland was simply rejuvenating. Not. To be in China is to feel foreign, much like emerald in a sea of jade. But I digress.
Number of cameras used: 2
Number of cities visited: 3
Shanghai is the "Paris of the Orient," Suzhou is the "Venice of the East," and Hangzhou is actually a lake surrounded by a city (I made this last one up, but it's true).
Number of travel buddies: 1
Terence writes at [http://terencetravels.blogspot.com]. Jim writes at [sanguineperigee.tumblr.com], but he didn't go with us. (I imagine him cursing me at this very moment.)
"Cultured in Pudong Airport."
Number of days in China: 5
There are a lot of reasons why one shouldn't fly Cebu Pacific, the self-proclaimed airline of the Filipino everyman, foremost of which is the level of service this literally high-flying enterprise dishes out to its consumers. But if only to get from one Asian city to another, if only to minimize wastage of travel time (defined as being in an airplane when one could very well be roaming a ruin or temple), then this indeed becomes the airline of choice.
We departed for Shanghai the evening of April 3 and for Manila a little past midnight of April 9. April 4-5 and 8 were spent in Shanghai, 6 in Hangzhou, and 7 in Suzhou.
Pudong Airport from the sky. (iPad photo)
The international departures board (top) and the baggage claim hall.
Pudong Terminal 2 departures interior (above) and exterior. If only Philippine airport terminals were constructed this way.
Number of nights spent in a bedroom: 4
That's because upon arrival, we opted to spend the remaining six hours of darkness in Pudong Airport. Because we both like airplanes and airports. And we're cool like that.
The rewards of staying overnight at an airport. Top to bottom: Emirates A380, Air China A321-200, the southern end of the Terminal 2 concourse featuring ANA B767-300ER, and Aeroflot B767-300ER.
An airport for a bedroom.
Vagabonds in Pudong Terminal 1 with its signature vertical lamps. (Below) Morning in Terminal 1.
Number of train rides taken: 5
We took the train from Shanghai Hongqiao Station to Hangzhou, then Hangzhou to Suzhou, and lastly, Suzhou to Shanghai Station. The two others were the Maglev train rides we took from the airport to the city and back. A Maglev train travels at a maximum speed of 301km/hr during non-peak early morning and evening trips, taking passengers from Longyang Metro Station to Pudong Airport or vice versa in roughly seven minutes.
Number of baths taken: 1
The second day in Shanghai was terribly chilly. The last day in Shanghai was like sitting in the theater. But mostly it's because I was just too tired at the end of the day to bother turning on the shower and playing with the temperature. Or maybe because not bathing was (is) the fad.
Signage at the airport entrance.