So I finally arrived (well arrived yesterday but was so tired I’ve only got round to blogging now). China is hot!! The temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius and it’s so humid over here. Fine when you’re just wandering around, but not great when you have to drag a massive, heavy suitcase that you can barely lift around (as we discovered yesterday in our attempts to get to our hotel).
Guess I should go back and start this from the beginning. So on Tuesday 20th August I left the UK. Had to wake up at 3:30am to leave the house at 4:30am in order to arrive at the airport for 6am. Managed to get there about 10mins early so I said goodbye to my Dad before going inside to wait for my friends. Most of them arrived quite soon after me so we all chatted and hung around before going to check in and baggage drop. Luckily all that went relatively smoothly so we then preceded through security to wait for our flight. We flew with Etihad Airways from Manchester to Abu Dhabi with a 3 hour wait in Abu Dhabi before our next flight to Shanghai.
I’ve never flown with Etihad before but was impressed with them and would definitely recommend them. We got fed a lot, and for airline food it wasn’t bad either, and also were offered plenty of drinks. On the 2nd flight which was overnight, we were also provided with a small overnight bag which contained toothbrush and toothpaste, socks, eye mask and some ear plugs. Small touches but they definitely were appreciated. Luckily I was sat next to one of my friends on the flights so it was nice to have someone to talk to.
I guess there’s not much else to say about the flights. They were long and uncomfortable as all flights are (and reminded me that I don’t like flying) but overall could have been much worse.
After arriving in Shanghai we had decided to take the Maglev and the metro in order to get to our hotel. With all our heavy bags and the heat this turned out to be a nightmare! Plus due to not knowing the city we ended up getting off the metro at the wrong stop meaning we were still quite far from our hotel and therefore had to try get taxi’s to take us the final stretch to the hotel. Having a shower and a rest then had never felt so good before!
After freshening up we decided to meet to go and find some dinner before going to meet our other friend at the station. We ended up at a Sichuanese restaurant quite close to our hotel which was delicious. We ordered a dish each to share together however this proved to be too much as the portions were very generous. Although it was slightly more expensive than the other restaurants in the area the price was still quite reasonable and it was a very clean restaurant which was probably good for us on our first night. After eating we got back on the metro to head to the station to meet our friend before heading back to the hotel for bed. The hotel is basic but perfectly suitable especially considering the price we paid. I would stay here again if I’m in Shanghai.
Then this morning we arranged to meet at 10:30am to go and explore the city however due to jet lag and being unable to sleep on flights quite a few people slept in by accident meaning it was much later than that by the time we were actually all up and ready to go. One of our friends from University back in the UK met us today to show us round (he’s from Shanghai and so is back home for the summer holidays at the moment). It was definitely helpful to have a local to help us. We took the metro to some touristy area with lots of traditional looking buildings and many shops and restaurants. On the way there we picked up some 包子 for breakfast, which again were delicious. Unfortunately after we arrived at our destination I wasn’t feeling too good (i think due to the heat – I’ve never been able to cope well with heat) despite trying to drink lots of water, so after a while I headed back to the hotel to rest. Before that our friend helped us to buy a couple of sim cards just so we can stay in contact with each other whilst in Shanghai – we’ll all buy more sim cards and phones when we reach Nanjing, but just got a few between us for now.
So yeah, as I headed back to the hotel that was about it for my first day. I just slept and showered after arriving back so haven’t really done much else. My friends apparently went to hang out at our Chinese friends house then some of them headed to a bar and the others came back. Up again tomorrow for another busy (and hopefully more successful from my point of view) day, so I should probably go to sleep now. Sorry if this is a little rambling, I am pretty tired right now.
It’s official. My year in China has begun.