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Published: June 28th 2010
Part of old gang and part of new.
Amavailse, Hamish, Rob, Liz, Steve, Sue, Paul, Damon and myself.
Day 156: Sunday, May 2nd, 2010
On this day, Gloria, Bruce and myself headed across the Huangpu River
to the Oriental Pearl Tower
. We were going to take a tunnel that, according to reviews, was a clear subway type train and along the way you saw crazy christmas lights and artwork. Unfortunately, that was closed. Sure, a bunch of people are coming to your city, shut down one of your attractions/transportation hubs. Makes a lot of sense. So, we got in line for the ferry and soon felt like cattle considering the number of people that were crammed all around us.
On the other side of the river, we stopped at the Super Brand Mall
and I grabbed some more books to lug around. Plus, there was a western restaurant there and we had a normal Western breakfast (pancakes for me!!) At some point we decided to go to the Jin Mao Tower
instead of the Pearl Tower because that way, we could take pictures of the Pearl Tower from up high. A very boring explanation, but there ya go.
We get to the base of the Jin Tower and there are a bunch of people sitting around the plaza. We try to
open the doors to the tower, and they're locked. Guess that's why everyone is sitting around outside. Is anything open in this city? Just then, a guard opens the door from the inside and motions us in. Wow- we're special! He then indicates a door we are to take after we said we were wanting the observation deck. We go thru that door, with a spring in our step, to find that we are now in the lobby that will take us to the observation deck- along with many other people. We were just trying to open the wrong doors and the guard got tired of seeing us standing out there confused, so he let us in. The main doors were open for business. We're geniuses. Up to the top, and the views are great. Plus, they have a window in the center of the building that lets you look back down at the many many floors onto a hotel lobby.
After that, i think I went back to the hotel to crash (typical, right?) and that night, the old meets the new. I head down into the lobby and meet my new tour guide, Marcia. Marcia was standing
by me when introductions were going on and one Scottish guy stuck out his hand and said his name was Graham- but with the lovely thick brogue and some extra sounds going on. Marcia and I both stood there for 2 minutes trying to say it the way he was and finally he said, "call me Hamish". Thank God. I've since learned the spelling of his name is Graeme and that kind of makes sense with the pronunciation. Right after that was Mash (Japan) whose real name, needless to say, is not Mash. He rattled off a very intricate Japanese name and immediately said, "You can call me Mash". Thank double God!!I then meet the rest of the group and it's Liz & Rob (New Zealand), and of course Damon and Steve. There was another guy, Mohammed (from everywhere- currently in Australia). Now, it's very hard for an American to get away with calling a guy named Mohammed an "asshole" because we'll instantly seem prejudice, racist, etc. Nope, had nothing to do with that. I am calling this man an asshole, because he was an asshole, as his antics for the next 10 days will prove.
On that cheerful
note, we head into a conference room and Marcia goes thru all the trip notes and that fun. Aww, my last intro meeting. She says that that night we have the optional excursion of a night cruise on the river and dinner. Yea! I ask if we can invite the old crew and she says sure and tells us what time to meet.
So, that night I meet Marcia and our new group down in the lobby. She said there is a restaurant nearby that we should like and we head around the corner to the building where we ate last night. I was so happy- I was gonna steal me a menu! It will be mine!! Then, the elevator stopped on floor 4, not 3. Damn- same building, different restaurant. I showed Hamish some pics of the menu from the night before and he giggles, as anyone would, at the menu items. Marcia asks if it's okay if she just orders for us all and we say sure. So, she orders. Then, asshole (I'm going to call him "Big A" from now on) says "oh, wait, I want this, I can't eat that, can we get this but
without that" etc. Hmmm, he's bossy and not very flexible, not promising. I couldn't judge at that point though because I found myself challenging Marcia about plans and what not during dinner. I had to learn to let go of our last tour guide experience and give her a chance. So, let's see if I can unclench and learn to relax again.
We head back to the hotel where we're going to meet up with our old group as well as Marcia's old group who are all going on the night cruise. Paul, Sue, and Amavalise are there but poor Gloria got food poisoning from our Western restaurant so she and Bruce are staying at the hotel. So, Marcia was trying to get about 18 of us to the river for the cruise. She flagged down a bunch of tuk tuk's, told them the address and we were off. Got there, she grabbed the tickets, and we hopped on the boat. This woman takes initiative and is organized- I love it!!!
The cruise was fun and it was a gorgeous night. Poor Hamish was talking to me at one point and I kept asking him to repeat what
he said because I couldn't understand him. Damon finally translated and said that Hamish said "it's a bit blowy"- translation: it was windy. I then confirmed, yes, blowy. Gorgeous accent (you know how I'm a sucker for the Scottish accents) but it's going to take me a while to decipher. So that was the end of our old group. The next day, the new group and myself are going to a water town while Gloria, Bruce, Paul and Sue were heading to Vietnam where they'll be doing the same trip I did a month back (Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi). Amavalise will be in town tomorrow night still so we'll get together with him for dinner. So, I say goodbye to those four and highly suggest they do the motorcycle excursion when they get to Hue (less the stomach issues though). Awww, I miss them! The people, not the stomach issues.
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