Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wednesday, October 28

We are flying west over the Pacific on Korean Air. The weather has been sunny and clear all the way. Korean Air is every so much more gracious than US airlines. At each seat there is a pillow, a blanket, and a small bottle of water. I'm in a place next to an empty seat, so I have two of each. Then they handed out headsets, slippers, toothbrush and toothpaste to each passenger. They even served meals as well as snacks.

I am almost at a loss for what to do, there are so many options. In addition to a stack of paperback books, there are borrowed newspapers, crossword puzzle and sudoku books (those I bought in the San Francisco airport). Finally I settle on journal and pen.

I have not been looking forward to this flight -- 12 hours on a plane seems like torture. Still, so far, so good. My suitcase came in at just under 45 pounds this morning, after I got worried and took some stuff out. There are weight limits to both overseas and in-country flights in China.

We are headed to Seoul. There's a short layover there, and then we get on a plane to Shanghai, where we'll be taken to our hotel. There are 8 of us on this flight from DRZC. We seem to be scattered around the plane -- a massive thing -- 10 seats to a row, 2 aisles, 52 rows, I think I heard. I'm in row 46. Each seat has a video screen built into the seat in front. From there we can watch movies, news, listen to audio programs, etc. I'm doing my best to ignore it for the time being, so far with reasonable success.

Later at the hotel -- not sure of date or time.

I'm writing in the dark -- it's a lovely hotel room, but none of the light switches seem to work. There's a little light from the windows but not much -- it's still dark outside. And I can't find my flashlight -- I know I packed it, but can't seem to find it.

That long flight wasn't nearly as bad as I was afraid it would be. We kept getting pretty good meals at regular intervals, when they would turn on lights, and then turn off the lights for sleep again. I probably did sleep lightly a few times and had few problems with that.

At Seoul the connection was very tight, and we all did some running through the airport, which felt pretty good. Gyokuko said she would almost have paid someone to be able to do that. The last shorter flight to Shanghai, another meal, and finally in to the airport. Went through customs, got our pictures taken, and Polly's bag didn't make it. So I went with her to get that straightened out. She says she has everything she really needs in her carry-on. But it all took a while. Korean Air paid her some money and gave her some packets of toiletries. She gave one of those to me.

We came in to Shanghai after dark, and the lights of downtown were quite spectacular -- light shows on several of the buildings, quite beautiful.

Next morning 7:10am

Solved the mystery of the lights -- they only work when you stick your room card key into a slot and leave it here while you're in the room. So now I have lights. I had set my watch to an hour later than it actually was, so I'm up and breakfasted, and have done some packing. Now I'm thinking of a proper shower and head shave. Maybe a blog entry. We meet in the lobby at 8:30, so I have a little time.


Still no success in getting online. I plugged in the LAN cable, and it seemed to connect (at $1/minute!), but wouldn't let me past the gateway. Ah, well, blogging on paper, as Gyokuko says.


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