Monday, May 6, 2013
And we're off on our adventure! Step one, getting there
We made it to Shanghai for our layover! We left the house Friday morning at 5:30am and got to the airport an hour before take off. The check in lady wasn't thrilled bc she said we needed a visa in China. Josh had checked and he said if it's less than 48 hours you don't. She said she couldn't put us on the plane though since the system told us we had to have a visa. She got her supervisor though and they figured out a way to do it after finding the details Josh mentioned--that were correct and specific to Shanghai I guess. She said in all her 36 years of working there she hadn't encountered something like that. We were relieved and got on a flight to LA.
We had a 6 hour layover in LA where we found out we could use the AA lounge b/c we were flying business class so Josh made good use of it and worked. It wasn't a great time for him so we were happy to wrap that up and left the airport to walk to a grocery store that had a redbox in it where we needed to return some dvds. It was an amusing walk. We found ourselves stuck in a huge mostly empty parking lot at the airport in 90 weather wondering around with our carry-ons. Josh suggested we climb the wall to get out, which worked, but it was a tall drop on the other side. We got out of there fast since it said restricted space on the other side. We returned the dvds, grabbed a sandwich and went back to board the next flight.
Business class on an international flight is like a slice of heaven. It was incredible. I tested out my seat buttons immediately trying all the various reclining positions and checking out the toiletries bag. We were salivating over the menu and 3 meals we'd get and all the movies they were showing that we would get to enjoy on a 14 hour flight. We enjoyed the first meal, complete with a ben and jerry's ice cream sundae. Then we watched a Chinese foreign film about some Chinese guys running around in Thailand, that was interesting. Then we fell asleep.
I woke up a few times for a pit stop, but Josh didn't. I accidentally woke him up on one and told him we had an hour left, which he was seriously bummed about b/c he thought we had 7 hours left and a few movies to go. It went by way too fast!
We got through customs and everything okay at the airport but discovered immediately that almost nobody knows a lick of English--we're talking nothing. Not even what "how much" means to the taxi -- ripped us off and smiled as he took away our money we didn't have change for. He also dropped us off a few blocks away from our hotel and pointed down a road for us to find the hotel. We dragged our luggage around trying to find it and didn't, but it was SO cool ! It was in the old city, which looks like it's right out of the movies with cool Chinese architecture and tea shops. I kept stopping for lots of pics, which J loved. We found a policeman and showed him the map, and he pointed back to where we'd been dropped. We went back and walked a few more blocks and found the hotel. We checked in and then went to where they had free desserts and the front desk guy came up and (somehow found us--also weird, we were in a lounge, not the first floor) and told me that the govt had called and said my passport expired today, but Josh was fine until tomorrow. I had to ditch my yummy treats and go find the passports. Ours both had the same dates, but they had just gotten it wrong somehow, so it worked out. We also noticed driving here that there were several spots along the highway with bright flashing lights and cameras taking pics. Creepy.
We started walking around at what was 7am California time, 10pm Saturday night here--9 hour bay for Josh. Happy bday Heidi too! Anyway, the city had basically shut down by then, so it was a little creeepy, but we found one cool street open full of food vendors and bought some noodles, a cabbage pancake and some funky treats at a grocery--pea ice cream bar in honor of the Parks kids--which tasted way too good to be peas (not that I'd order it over others, but it was good) and some minty flower gum that is really fun, an Asian pear, mochi, red bean cream marshmallows, fried strawberry cookies and black glutinous rice and coconut milk drink--which as all pretty tasty actually.
Pics later when I can update!