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Shanghai Day 1

We had a reasonably leisurely start - a taxi booked for 11:00am to take us to Heathrow. The taxi took us through some areas that we hadn't been in before - The Strand, Knightsbridge, Earls Court etc - places to visit next time! We arrived about 11:45 for a suggested time of 12:15 - three hours before departure. We were all anxious about our bag weights and Julie's ended up 2 kilos over and mine slightly over. We had a quick juggle-around of stuff to even the weights out and checked in. We then had a late breakfast at a cafe - three vegetarian English breakfasts - very nice. We were flying to Shanghai with Virgin Atlantic. The plane was ready early but airport delays meant a ten minute late departure. The flight was uneventful and we arrived 20 minutes early. Big ups to the VA crew - very attentive and the food was good too. The only complaint is that they gave no advice as to arrival card needs and made none available. Consequently we arrived having no idea what we needed. We completed a yellow arrival card but found once we got to customs that we needed a non-visa blue card. We then got moved to another counter and got the royal going-over by customs who seemed to be very suspicious that we had only come to China for two days. Eventually we got thorough to find our bags the only ones left from that flight being guarded by an airport employee. We then caught a shuttle (only us on it) to our hotel in the Bund which took about 45 minutes. We were all buggered so we decided to sleep for a few hours. Julie and John woke at 4 pm and went for a walk along one of the very busy streets. It was too hot and humid by far. 34 degrees and the air was so humid and clammy. The thing we noticed is how few people were wearing masks - virtually none at all. Patrick in the meantime had also decided to go out and found a huge open air mall nearby. Around 7:30 pm we decided to see if we could find somewhere to eat in the mall but after an hour walking around we could not find anywhere that suited us all. We went back to the hotel with the intention of dining there only to find it closed, so it was back into the stifling atmosphere again to Maccas at the mall! A frustrating afternoon all around. The language barrier is a real issue here. Even most of the hotel staff have a very limited grasp of English so it is hard going trying to communicate. They even have a 'Fitness Room' in their services card but when I asked where it was, even spelling it the same way as in their own card, the staff had no idea what I was talking about. It was only when we said "gym' did they understand what I wanted! It turned out to be sub-standard anyway...

Posted by 3kiwisabroad 08:06

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