Tuesday, May 18, 2010

China: Days 1 & 2 of May 2010 trip

Sorry I couldn't post from China.  No access to social networking.  Yet another drawback to a communist government.

I'll do a couple of posts to summarize my week.  Starting with the first couple of days.

Day One:
Arrival in Shanghai.  Wanted to sightsee for a couple of hours.  Driver was supposed to take us to the Bund area of Shanghai.  It's an area that's said to have some spectacular art deco architecture and a great view across the river to downtown Shanghai.  Driver didn't take us there.  Driver didn't speak English so I couldn't ask.

Got to travel over the Hangzhou Bay Bridge on the way to Ningbo, China.  The bridge is 22 miles long, and it's the second longest bridge in the world.  It was a foggy/rainy day, so the bridge seemed to go on forever.  We were on the bridge for more than 1/2 hour.  Wow.

Day Two:
Work all day, then to Ningbo airport for a flight to Beijing.

Woman at airport check-in told my colleague and I that our bags were overweight.  We had checked online before leaving, as sometimes domestic flights have lower baggage allowances than international flights (remember this if you're ever traveling overseas, then around a country).  The baggage allowance was 40lbs each for each of the 2 bags allowed.  My bags (and my colleague's bags) were under this amount.  We asked the woman what the allowance was.  She said 20 kg total per passenger.  She asked us to pay an overage fee of 130RMB (about $18).  She wouldn't finish checking us in until we paid her.  My colleague offered up her credit card, as we were short on currency.  The woman looked flustered, and said, "no problem, this time it's ok."  Lesson learned:  capitalism and the art of the scam are alive and well in China.

Arrived at hotel in Beijing after midnight (after starting the day with a bus ride to the factory beginning at 7:30am).  Hotel says they only have smoking rooms.  I get cranky (but polite) and demand non-smoking rooms - as we had guaranteed reservations.  Check-in person suddenly finds non-smoking rooms.  Lesson learned:  Don't be afraid to be pushy - especially if it's something you can't tolerate.

Here's a  picture from Beijing (looking on to Tianenmen Square at night - view from a great restaurant we went to).  I'll post notes from the rest of the week tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Love the photo. An airline agent tried the same thing with us in Mexico. Interesting.


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