Day Three – We’re Here!

Posted: April 13, 2009 in Trip to East Asia

Wa sei! (That means wow in Mandarin).  We landed in China around 2:00 PM on Saturday.  It has become reality now.  Noone looks like me here.  Noone speaks like me here. After picking up our bags we headed to purchase our domestic tickets to get to Chongqing.  We had purchased these previously but lost those tickets due to our delay in the States.  So Charles met up with a Chines guy in a jumpsuit and a handheld credit card scanner to purchase some new ones.  Shady in the States i suppose but par for the course here.  Everyone was staring at us.  I don’t mean just looking at us, but staring.  We were later told that is normal, but it was a bit unnerving when we first experienced it.  I stepped outside the airport to take a picture of a small piece of Shanghai.  The delay would force us to miss our time there.  We headed to Chongqing after a couple of hours in the terminal. 

It was a much different flight.  No in-flight movie.  Tiny unspacious seating.  Chinese food served for a meal.  No Americans on the flight.  I was able to meet a young Chinese couple – Sky and Wendy were their American names – who were sitting next to me.  We had a fun conversation which ended when Sky pulled up an episode of 24 on his computer.  I offered my portable speakers and Sky, Wendy and I watched Jack Bauer knock off a few terrorists.  Nothing like Jack Bauer to bridge the gap between culture right?  🙂

We landed in Chongqing and realized that what we thought was China back in Shanghai, wasn’t China at all.  Now we were in the heart of the country and it was evident that much fewer Americans visited here.  There was much less marketing to westerners.  The airport wasn’t as nice.  And we were met with an aroma which we have come to know as a distinctly Chongqingian one.  We grabbed our luggage, I said goodbye to Sky and Wendy and we headed to meet Jeff, our friend who lives here.  It was great too see someone who can speak both languages.  He hailed two taxis for us and we began our journey to the district of Jie Fang Bei where our hotel is.  The taxi ride was amazing in itself.  There were lines on the highway, but they seemed to simply be suggestions, even the divider lines in the middle of the highway were not heeded.  Again, “wa sei”!!!  But, we arrived at our hotel safely, unloaded everything and headed out to get our first real “taste” of Chongqing – the food.  Jeff took us to a “dishes” restaurant and proceeded to order 8 dishes for us to try.  It was spicy!  We washed it down with some Chongqing beer which was really more like alcoholic water.  It was really bad.  We finished dinner around 10:30 PM and walked around the area for a bit.  Amazingly similar to an American city, there were two Starbucks within 1/2 mile of each other!  New China is not like Old China.  Time for bed.  Big day tomorrow.  Finally get to meet some Chinese people!

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