Monday, May 19, 2008

Safe Landing in Shanghai

Hi All, I know many of you have been waiting patiently (or anxiously, due to the earthquakes!) for my first blog posting so, finally, here it is! Sorry, there won't be any pictures yet because I haven't taken them off my camera and onto Michael's computer (they are transferring now--verrrryyy slowly)! But I will post photos as soon as possible, maybe even within just a few hours.

Meanwhile, a little news on what I've been doing so far on my trip. I arrived in Shanghai around 7:30 p.m. (China time) on a flight delayed first by the late arrival of the plane from its previous destination and then a problem with the pressurization system that needed to be repaired before we could take off. Once we arrived in in Shanghai (4 in-flight movies, 3 episodes of Desperate Housewives, 3 episodes of Grey's Anatomy, two meals, a snack, and dozens of beverages later) I zipped through customs (nothing to declare), waited an interminable time for my luggage, and finally found my way to the exit where Michael was waiting for me with three of his friends, Mike, Uri, and Salena (who is now Michael's girlfriend), all of whom I have met before. A great reunion!

We spent the next few days in and around Shanghai. Mike and his girlfriend, Maya, have an apartment there and they put all four of us up that first night. The next two nights we spent in hotels, the first one in Shanghai, and the second one in the old city of Zhouzhuang. The fourth night we spent on a sleeper train that we took from Shanhai to Luoyang. My first sleeper train; what an experience! It was a 17 hour trip. Speaking of trains, we also rode the famous Maglev train when we left the Shanghai airport. This is the high-speed train that goes up to 300 km/hour! It's awesome! I'll try to do some internet research on it and post more info. I do know that, somehow using magnetic power, the train actually rises up off the tracks so that there is no friction - this is how it goes so fast. Fascinating.

In Shanghai we visited the People's Square, a famous shopping center where we saw lots of other foreigners. We also went to the Oriental Pearl Tower where we ascended in an elevator 267 meters high and had a 360 degree view of Shanghai. This tower reminded me of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.

There's LOTS more to tell but I need my photos to help jog my failing memory! We have packed a lot into the last few days. Now we are at Michael's apartment on campus at the University of Technology in Luoyang City.

Regarding the earthquake (and the hundreds of aftershocks), there has really not been any affect on Shanghai or here in Luoyang except, of course, the usual watching the news, reading the papers, sympathy for the affected people, and the horror of watching the death toll rise every day. We're too far away here for it to be much more "personal." The only English-speaking channel on t.v. has been running continuous earthquake coverage and we've watched a fair amount of that. Horrible stories of entire schools collapsing and burying the students, factories that went down on an entire workforce of people and, more recently, relief workers being buried by mudslides caused by aftershocks. Yesterday we had just climbed into the back seat of a taxi when our driver started blowing his horn. Turned out it was a three-minute period of "silence" all across the country where all emergency sirens were activated and everyone on the road blew their car horns in recognition of the dead.

I'm going to see what I can do now to get my photos uploaded. Hopefully, today I will be able to post some! Feel free to leave comments, especially if you have any questions!! More soon!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Debbie, Good to hear from you and see some pictures. Glad you are ok and having a good time. One question: Dianna's bridal shower is June 1. Will you be home for that? We are fine and anxious for any word from you about what you are doing. The photos are beautiful. Be careful. Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

I'M SO JEALOUS!!! i think every comment i leave on your blog has those three words somewhere in it. i'm glad you're having fun--next time i wanna go. yeah, when are you coming home--isn't your birthday coming up?
love, karen