OK- ok… so maybe there weren’t too many shenanigans (not that I can talk about here anyway! LOL) But it was still a really interesting trip.
- My first International Business Class flight
- My first communist country
- My first bad bronchitis day in bed while traveling
- My first city in Asia
- My first time in China
I left Budapest on the 29th (September) and arrived in China on the 30th. I knew it was going to be a very long flight- so I did some searching and got an amazing deal on a business class flight on Lufthansa- and hopped on it!
When I got to Shanghai and checked in to my AWESOME room in the Marriott Shanghai City Center, I was pooped! But I knew I needed to get out and walk around and try to stay awake for a while and start to get my body adjusted to about a 12 hour time change!
I asked the front desk where to explore and they directed me to the Nanjing Walking Road. It’s a long street that is blocked off from traffic and lined with stores and restaurants.
Being that this was my first Asian city- let alone a HUGE city- I was loving the atmosphere and the lights and the noise and the people. (I took sooo many photographs! Be sure to check out my Instagram the best of them!)
The next morning I woke up and I felt like I was dead! My annual (semi-annual) battle with “bronchitis” was upon me! But I have to tell you, the hotel staff was amazing! After I went to breakfast, I was hot (did I tell you it was like 27* celsius and like 89% humidity? UGH!) and sweaty and did NOT feel well. I went to ask where the closest pharmacy was. As she started to tell me these complicated directions, I thought I was going to keel over! She noticed (Thank Goodness!) and brought me to the concierge. I gave them some cash and they went to the pharmacy FOR me to pick up some GOOD cold medicine. She sent me back up to my room and within 10 minutes had some amazing fresh hot ginger tea sent up to the room too. I slept on and off all day! When the cleaning lady came in later that day, she made me more tea, brought me extra water bottles, put a brand new box of kleenex by my bed, and told me to stay put until I felt better… all without speaking any English!
I felt a bit better the next day- but my time zone adjustment was not going well- for the next few nights I was awake at 3am and stayed awake for hours! UGH! But hey- I was in CHINA so I was going to make it work!
The week I arrived was their National Day celebration week. The anniversary of the birth of The People’s Republic of China. Every year the Chinese people get the whole week off in honor of this holiday. So what normally happens is that the people in Shanghai go out to the country to have their holiday- and people from the country come into the city to enjoy theirs.
What that meant to me was- much of the city was very empty and abnormally slow with things closed early or not opening at all… but it also meant that all of the “main tourist spots” (You know- the ones I would be trying to visit in my few short days there!) would be the most crowded they would be all year! I got a real taste for close quarters in a big city!
At one point in Yuyan Gardens it was so packed with people, I almost could not even turn around. But I managed to get out of the area, and decided I would not try to go into the gardens or temple- because that is where everyone else was headed. It was just too much, especially since I wasn’t feeling that well still.
One afternoon I just decided to wander down the street and see what was down that way and I came to a giant mall. In the mall there was a set-up area, made to be a “Fall Fun” kind of exhibit. Fake fall leaves and trees, people throwing up leaves and taking pictures, letting their kids play in leaf piles… it was so wild! People were waiting in line to pay to go in. I guess we take fall leaf peeping for granted, don’t we!
My hair is currently bleach blond, and I got some stares from little children and old men. LOL I also noticed that most of the women are definitely modestly dressed, which is fine for me, because I am usually also rather modestly dressed. However, I do wear tank tops quite a bit and I am a little more, uhm shall we say- “Well endowed” up top so my tanks show a bit of cleavage- I felt the need to keep that top pulled up quite a bit because I was definitely getting noticed in that area. Something to keep in mind…
I went out each night and walked around the city- met some cool people who showed me a few nice places to walk, eat, drink, and an amazing rooftop bar with city views that would have been SO amazing- had it not been pouring out! LOL
Overall- a very nice way to begin the Asian leg of this “tour.”
At this point, I am not in love with Asia- but I am sure blessed to be having the chance to experience it and be able to even say that to you!
Have you ever been to China? Where? What did you love or not love about it?