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Published: September 25th 2005
Rui Jin Hotel
The breakfast room
Saturday, September 17, 2005. Weather: Another lovely day. Temperature: Still in the 80's.
Our trip is rapidly coming to a close. More rapidly than you might think! This morning, after a lovely breakfast buffet at the Rui Jin, we took another walk in the French Concession and to the bazaar for some last minute items. We then returned to our Suite and packed for the trip home.
The flight home is not until tomorrow. However, since the plane leaves at 9 a.m. we have decided to relocate to a hotel right at the airport as it is sometimes as much as an hour drive by taxi and even in China it is necessary to be at the airport several hours before your flight.
We lingered until almost check out time at noon then checked out and with the assistance of the hotel staff directed a taxi to take us to the Longyang Station of the mag-lev train. For those who may not be familiar with the concept, mag-lev means magnetic levitation. It is sort of like a mono-rail but much faster. This mag-lev train is the only one in regular commercial service in the world! It runs from
Rui Jin Hotel
Goodbye to a lovely place!
the Pudong district, near where we stayed at the Shangri-la, to Pudong International Airport (PVG) located some 31 kilometers (18 miles) away. Since there is no friction between the train and the track as it is "levitating" it can travel at exceptional speeds.
Inside the cars there is a digital speed indicator over each cabin door showing the time and the speed. The entire 18 miles journey, including acceleration and deceleration, takes a total of 7 minutes! The speed indicator reaches a maximum of 431 kph at mid-point. I think that is about 267 MPH. Literally faster than a speeding bullet and greater than the takeoff speed of an airliner. That is what I call a rapid close to a trip!
The problem is that the ride is over so quickly! The trip costs $4 per person since we had ongoing airline tickets. Without the tickets it is $5. A cheap price for a unique experience. The train terminal is directly at the airport, although the airport hotel is not directly at the airport. We could see it but we could not walk to it. A short cab ride got us there for about $1.50 (and the cab
drivers in China do NOT expect a tip!).
We spent our last night in China at the Ramada Airport Pudong. I mention the name precisely because there is also a Ramada Pudong in the city and if you are interested in being near the airport you would not want to mix them up. It is a fairly modern hotel typical of what you would find near any airport in the world. We had skipped lunch so about 4 p.m. we went to the restaurant and had an early dinner. Neither of us could resist ordering a grilled hamburger with lettuce, tomato and pickle. My, was that tasty! We had the restaurant to ourselves at that hour and received meticulous service from several waitresses. The moment a dish becomes empty it is removed from the table.
Now we are in the wind down mode. Rest was in order as we had a long day ahead flying from Shanghai, China to New York City in the same day.
Next: The trip home and some final thoughts.
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