Day 7: To Shanghai!


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Asia » China » Shanghai
December 23rd 2011
Published: December 23rd 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

Construction in Xi'anConstruction in Xi'anConstruction in Xi'an

Just one set of the many, many groups of high-rise buildings under construction in Xi'an.
We have finally left the “hotel of a thousand smells”, as Liang called it. No more pickled turnip smell. I hope. I also decided that I think the problem with the bed was that they forgot the mattress and just put sheets on the box spring. That must be it.I pray that at least the quality of the bed is better in the next hotel as I am in sincere need of a good night’s rest.

After breakfast we loaded all our luggage into several cars and headed for the airport. The drive from our hotel to the airport was about an hour or so but gave us a good chance to see the city in daylight. We took several videos while we were driving of traffic (still not nearly as good as we will get in Shanghai) and daily life in Xi’an. I took more photos of the construction of large buildings as its simply amazing how much is occurring simultaneously here. There isn’t much established around the airport but there are just miles and miles (and miles) of new high rise buildings being constructed. Xi’an also seems to have put an emphasis on greenspace. Truckloads full of trees
Airport AdAirport AdAirport Ad

I have no idea what this is selling, but I found it pretty amusing.
are being planted everywhere there is a flat space- even alongside highway overpasses. Hopefully the planting of many trees and other vegetation will help to combat the pollution problems (Xi’an is an energy center both for coal and oil) and curb soil erosion- in addition to providing pleasant outdoor spaces for the residents.

Today is the first day that I have felt homesick. Not homesick in the sense of longing to be back home, but more of a desire for a bit of silence among the chaos. China is home to about 20% of the world’s population and sound permeates every minute of every day. As I sat in the airport today, throngs of people speaking around me, a loudspeaker booming flight information and music playing in the background, I mentally transported myself to our backyard in Madison during a blizzard. Complete silence. It was quickly broken as a group pushed past me heading to their gate.

The Xi’an airport, like the city, is growing quickly. More flights go in and out of Xi’an than there are gates. We all packed into a large bus and were driven to our airplane, where we boarded on the tarmac. Another
Master Hot SpringMaster Hot SpringMaster Hot Spring

The hot spring room in our master bedroom in the villa.
Chinese flight, with attentive attendants and scrumptious food. This meal included a container of Chinese yoghurt. Here they drink it with a straw and it was oh-so-tasty. I hope I can find that at the Chinese market back in Madison. I have a feeling that after this trip I will frequent it often.

On the flight, we were seated by an air marshall after some seat-shuffling. Here air marshalls wear a uniform and are easily identified. In fact he openly told Liang of his purpose on the flight after we were seated. He seemed very interested in the system in the US where air marshalls are “incognito”, and couldn’t really understand why. Liang asked if pilots were able to carry weapons in China. The marshall politely said “don’t ask me that”.

Going on three hours after boarding a chartered coach to head to the hotel, we pulled over at a rest stop for a bathroom break. In China, toilet paper is often not provided and occasionally toilets cost money to use. As I hopped off the coach I realized I needed to grab tp and mentioned it to Liang. He reached into his pocket for tissues and offered me a sweet roll instead. Yeah, that wasn’t gonna work.

Later that evening…Wow. Yeah, our “hotel” is better tonight than in Xi’an. In fact, its not quite a hotel and more a villa. A villa in a hot springs resort. A 3-bedroom villa with two hot spring pools within the villa itself. Wow. Oh, and I ate a pig’s tongue for dinner tonight- ick.

Since Liang’s dad works with the owner of this resort, we get to reap the benefits of staying here. After taking a soak in our master bedroom hot spring pool (yes, his parents gave us the master!) I am exhausted and can’t wait to jump into the comfy cushy bed. So I will post one photo and post a video tour of the villa tomorrow.

Tomorrow we are headed to see the Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia!

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