Welcome to Shanghai! Ugh...
This post is several days late. Sorry. I went to Shanghai on Sunday (Nov. 11) to attend a BCP (that’s Business Continuity Planning, for the 99.99999% of you who don’t know) conference. The conference lasted 2 days (Monday and Tuesday). Normally I’m not a huge fan of Shanghai, primarily for two reasons:
- Shanghai people are generally rude. At least, more rude than Beijingers.
- Shanghai is unacceptably expensive. We’re talking approaching prices you’d pay in Hong Kong or even Tokyo for a beer. (Maybe I just go to the wrong places…)
But I have nothing against the city itself (in terms of buildings, layout, etc.). But the airport… My god….
Hong Qiao is a joke
I’ve been to Shanghai 3 times. 5 of the 6 legs I went through Hong Qiao airport (the old one that is now pretty much dedicated to domestic flights). I flew out of Pudong (the new, International Airport) once. (An aside about Pudong: Reminds me of a bigger Beijing Airport Terminal 2 - large, grey, baron) The main thing I don’t like about Hong Qiao (and I can’t comment on Pudong as I never arrived at Pudong) is the taxi queue. I arrive around 10pm or so Sunday night, and this is what I was greeted by:
That’s an overflowing taxi queue. This airport has one taxi queue.
One. It took 40 minutes to get through this dang thing. (Beijing’s airport had a disaster Taxi queue up until last year sometime when they overhauled it. They now split it into 3 or 4 queues, it moves much faster.) God… 40 minutes to wait for a freaken taxi. Meanwhile, you’re crowded into this queue, people are smoking all over the place- you can’t breath….
“Enjoying Shanghai” Shanghai was ok…
Getting Back I had a 9pm flight Tuesday night back to Beijing. I, being paranoid about missing flights, managed to get to the airport around 7:15pm. I really didn’t want to wait for almost 2 hours so I tried to change my ticket to an earlier one. Lucky for me, there’s a new partnership with the 5 major airlines that fly between Beijing and Shanghai that makes it easy to switch flights, check in, claim baggage, etc. That’s the theory any way. After being told to go to 4 different counters, I managed to get to a counter where somebody would help me. Long boreing story short, I got on a 7:55 pm flight. Sweet! Whoa there son, slow down for a moment! I got on a Hainan Airlines flight. I’ve never been on a Hainan airlines flight. These guys 2 years ago added a multiple-times-a-week direct flight Beijing to Budapest, so they must be legit, no?
Chinglish Prevails even at 30,000 feet I rarely look at the emergency evacuation brochure as probably if we’d every need to use it, we’d be dead already. But for some reason, I decided to check it out. I just had to take a picture: (PHOTO IS MISSING)
Ok, it’s a 737-800. And the title of this brochure is “Just In Case”. As my dutch friend said, this is the “Just In Case Special Edition of the 737-800”. Clever…
Airplane Food is Good!
Normally I don’t complain about airplane food. It’s not supposed to be gourmet. It’s supposed to take care of your hunger. Now, with this being an 8pm flight, I was expecting a somewhat-proper meal. Hey, I got on on my flight to shanghai on Air China… This is what they served: [![Sorry attempt a
Some grape tomatoes, a roll, a muffin, and pickled veggies (with 2 slices of some meat on top). Needless to say I was still hungry… Oh, and to make matters worse, they don’t have beer on this flight. grrr.
Sick People Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Fly And baby’s too! But I didn’t have any baby problems this time around. No no, it was much worse. My plane had a considerable number of, what I think were Eastern Europeans (or maybe East-Central?) - I couldn’t decipher what language they were speaking… Any way… I was way in the back - I mean, the last seat. Right in front of the aft restroom and galley. One of these foreign guys was quite sick - Just after take off, he went to the restroom, and his friends, after a while, went to check on him. He eventually emerged, but he looked like shit. They had him sit on the other side of the aisle from me due to the close proximity to the restroom. I thought “crap…”. Most of the flight, he looked o.k…. That changed as we started to descend. Minutes from touching ground, we hit a little bit of turbulence and he started shifting in his seat a lot. Eventually he decided to run to the restroom - at this point, the fasten your seat belts light was on, so of course the flight attendants went a bit nuts but eventually let him get into the restroom (thank you!). Moments later, he was vomiting with a lot of emotion (this is hard to explain in words… let’s just say most of the plane could hear!). We touched down… On taxiing to the gate, he emerged from the restroom and sat in his seat. There was no further excitement from him. I wonder what was wrong with him… Did he drink too much? Was it food poisoning? I just hope that won’t happen again - I consider myself lucky though as I wasn’t used as a projectile vomit target…