Sunday, 24 February 2008

Arriving in China

We left Brisbane at 11.45 pm and arrived in Singapore around 5.15 am (Singapore time) knowing we had some 2 hours to wait. I was last in Changi/Singapore Airport in 1991, and how it has changed.

It is much, much bigger, hugely friendly with displays of wonderful Singapore orchids. Altogether friendly and welcoming. I was travelling with two gentlemen - friendly Aussie blokes whom I met at Australian City College - and we were soon lined up at the Sports Bar for our first drink. I had a lovely red wine and the guys had a few beers.

We were very tired - sleeping sitting up in economy class is not a good sleep, but we were OK. One of the guys had been to Yuexiu before, and I was the only one of the trio that had never been to China.

There is now an airtrain that takes folk between the different parts of the airport. M1 managed to get on the train before the doors closed and M2 and I were stranded, until the train returned. We boarded and found that we had taken a different route. Back to the origional departure spot, and then on to the right destination and we were reunited again. Lots of laughs!

It wasn't long before we boarded the next Singapore Airlines flight - the 5 hours to Shanghai.

As it turned out we landed early in Shanghai and jour meeting and greeting party had not arrived. We had been given instructions to wait for two young ladies who would have "a plate with characters on it and our names." Eventually M1 found them - with the sign with thename of the college in English and Chinese and with "Dianne Michael" on it. The two blokes are both called Michael - which is why I will call them M1 and M2. Easy for me.

The girls had travelled three hours by bus and went off for something to eat, leaving us with our luggage to watch the world (in Shangai) go past.

The Shanghai airport was more than adequate - but compared to Singapore - well, there is no comparison. Shanghai was stark and functional, without the glamour and welcoming of Singapore. No doubt Shanghai Airport will upgrade one day to cater for the increasing number of Westerners to the country.

Eventually we found our bus driver and bus and were on the road to Shaoxing. Will I ever forget that bus ride? Never in a zillion years.

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