Cripes... getting there was quite a trek. 12 or so hours from LA to Beijing and then another 2 to Shanghai. All in all, I think it was about 24 hours from setting-foot in LAX, to closing the door to the hotel room in Shanghai.
Side note to the Chinese in the forum... WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH THE ROCK-HARD BEDS?
Once there, it was pretty cool... literally. It was about 20*F in Shanghai. But talk about a mega-opolis. 18 million Shanghai-ese... and I think all of them were out on that Sunday.
And it took me about an hour to realize that pushing and shoving to get where you need to go was just a part of daily life there. Beijing was similar... but not so pushy-shovey.
Haggling at the markets was fun. Though, the runners for the little stands saw me from a mile away. Even while wearing the beanie. Before I stepped out of the cab, a croud of them were running along side awaiting my exit. "Bags, watch, DVD, shoes?" "Hello... hello... DVD?" And so on.
Anyways, once in the market area, they pretty much had fake you-name-it... as expected, I suppose. The deals were there to be had. My wife-to-be is the negotiator of the two of us... and quite a good one, at that. But I'm learning. She'd been there twice before, so she kind of knew her way around already.
She had a great time shopping. I'm not the shopper that she is, but I had a good time just being someplace so different. The North Face brand everything was the most popular that I saw over there. I'm not a skier or snowboarder, so I'd never hear of it. But her brother and sister are, and had. Hats, beanies, coats, etc... The North Face.
Generally, I stayed with the safest food that I could, stayed away from the tap water and washed my hands often. Our hotels were nice. They had nicely laid out American and Chinese breakfast buffets, each morning.
The island of Puoto Shan, off the coast of Shanghai, was a very different place. Old, quiet and peacefull. Lots of temples. We spent a day there.
Beijing was cold... really cold. Drove through Tiananmen
Square. That was chilling (no pun). Walked through the Forbidden City. Very historic. Then to the Great Wall. I decided to make a call to my parents on my cell phone from the great wall. They got a kick out of that. That's not something that you get to do everyday.
Then, arrived back at LAX today in the bigdog 747-400. I'll tell the story about the plane ride in my next post.
All in all, it was a good trip. I'd go back, though, maybe in the fall or springtime.
I'll post some pictures sometime tomorrow (Sunday).