Saturday, January 15, 2011

CHINA TRIP 2007......our journey begins in Los Angeles.......

Plump up your pillows and get ready for another Armchair Travel with Martha adventure. After a quiet fall, I've decided to share the story of our trip to China in March of 2007 with a Tour Company for your enjoyment. Things might have changed a bit over the past four years but you'll be traveling through the magic of the Internet with Martha and Jim starting in Shanghai. We'll visit Beijing and walk the Great Wall of China, see the 2008 Olympic Stadium under construction and walk in the Grand Tiananmen Square. Our story is going to take us to visit the Panda Bears, walking among the Terra Cotta Army and staying overnight in a private home. After flying to Tibet for a few days we'll board a River Cruise Ship to see the dramatic Yangtze Gorges and the Three Gorges Dam. Hong Kong awaits and then it's off to four days of Cambodia before we end our tour back in Hong Kong. This adventure will last a month so clear your calendar and sign on each morning for a new adventure!

AND SO WE BEGIN.....

March 11, 2007: The shuttle service picked us up a 5:00 am and, as we were the only passengers, it was a direct trip to LAX. Jim was hardly moving; his back had been bothering him for several days and he had trouble getting out of bed and dressed this morning. So…I told him not to attempt to do any lifting of suitcases, etc. He was in so much pain even with the Motrin and Heat Patches that he didn't even object to my decision to take charge.

Check in went rather smoothly with a few minor traumatized passengers who were late because of the time change this morning…Daylight Savings Time is early this year…passengers were asking to be allowed special privileges so that they didn't miss their planes. Security check went smoothly….we were well prepared with our required items already in plastic bags for the x-ray machines.

By 8 am we’d had breakfast and were prepared for our United flight which left right on time. Jim had managed to located Betty & Harold from Fillmore, CA, who are also in our Overseas Adventure Travel tour group; we'd been given a list prior to leaving by the tour company. We had a group of eight that are taking the pre-tour of Shanghai. We will meet the other eight in Beijing in four days where the official tour begins.

Arrived in San Francisco and were delighted that a security bus trip to the International Terminal bypassed the need for us to go through another TSA station. With a two hour layover we had time to take some photos of our plane; telephone some of the family and also request an early boarding because of Jim’s back problems. That was great as we were one of the first to board and were well settled by the time our seatmates arrived. It’s a full flight and we’re in the middle of the center row! Tight but at least we are against a wall and don’t have people grabbing our seats for balance during the flight. The time difference between California and Shanghai is fifteen hours. The flight left about 1 pm California time on Sunday and we will arrive at 4:30 pm on Monday; it’s going to be a long twelve and a half hours of flying. Hope to get some shut eye. We’re taking our “No Jet Lag” pills and have our new “First Class Sleepers” air pillows….they support the whole back and head. What a blessing...Jim's back problems were gone by the time we arrived.

March 12, 2007 SHANGHAI

The hours moved slowly and very few passengers slept during the flight. At one point I was standing in the rear of the plane doing stretch exercises when a Chinese woman spoke to me. She said that I looked like I took very good care of my house. After several questions I realized the house she was talking about was my “body”. We continued to chat, somewhat difficult but very interesting, for about five minutes before heading back to our respective seats....we did use lots of sign language during our conversation!

It was a long flight but we arrived by 6 pm and as soon as we cleared Customs by providing written document to three different clerks…Medical, Personal and finally property declarations…we spotted our Overseas Adventure Travel tour guide: Hanna’s smiling face was waiting for us! Hanna is her “American name”. She gave us lots of information on China and especially on Shanghai during our half hour bus ride to the center of the city and the Bund Hotel, our home during our stay in Shanghai. After we deposited our bags in the rooms we walked the few blocks with our new friends Betty & Howard to the shopping areas to stretch our legs from the long flight before heading to bed for our first night in Shanghai. We also hit the ATM for some Chinese money…Jim got 2500 Yuan…not sure how much that is in dollars but we’re told that the Yuan is worth about 7.7 to the Dollar. Hopefully that amount will last for several weeks’ worth of pocket money.

1 comment:

Nancy Leigh Harless said...

And you're off! this will be especiall fun reading about the part of this trip that i missed. We ddn't do the 'pre-trip remember. I for one will be checking in every morning to see what Marth's been up to and where she's been!

hugs,

Nancy