Shanghai: The First 24 Hours

With a 3:00am wake up, a 4:00am driver pick up and a 6:00am flight time, we were on our way to Shanghai!  Our route took us from Cleveland to Newark (with a 2 hour and 22 minute layover) then a direct flight eastward bound to our new home.  Our driver showed up 10 minutes early…which was nice and all, but it cut in to our saying bye to Gomez time.  Which sucked.  I mean reeeeeally sucked.  I was an udder mess and Paul was using his sleeve to wipe away his tears.  I have complete confidence in the guys staying with him, taking care of him and the house…but it won’t be the same as being together.  Being able to snuggle, petting him and giving him doggy massages, hearing his silly fart sounds, giggle and cover our noses at the aforementioned tooting, smelling his “stank mouf” (oddly comforting to me), hearing him do his little snorty piggy sounds, doing “The Coffee Table 500” (“zoomies” around the coffee table…sometimes banking up along the sofas) and all of his silly and quirky antics.  It does my heart good to see Gomez happy and excited when “the boys” (as we’ve been calling them) show up.  Seeing his little coconut head via FaceTime will suffice…of sorts.  I know he will be fine, but there will be days we won’t be.  And that, I feel, will be one of the hardest parts of this year long adventure.

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Most of our stuff was shipped over last week, but we boarded with 5 suitcases weighing in at 218.2 pounds, 2 carry on bags (NOT leaving my camera gear out of my sight!) and 2 backpacks.  Upon departing Newark, we checked in at the ticket counter and had our visas looked at…all good.  I was excited to whip out one of about four words I know in Mandarin…”xièxie” (thank you).  We boarded the huge United 777 and got all settled in for our 14 1/2 hour, 12,250 mile flight.

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Good bye Cleveland…hello sunrise part one!

After taking off, lunch (dinner?) was served about an hour in.  We napped for quite a while.  Paul watched “The Martian” and “The Intern” while I typed up (the start of) this blog post and watched “Tough Rides: Global Motorcycle Adventures (China series).”  Basically 2 brothers circumnavigated around China on BMW bikes for 64 days totaling 18,000 kilometers…or something like that.  Being a huge fan of the “Long Way Round/ Down” series, this was right up my alley!  They’ve since ripped around India and Brazil, so I may have to watch those on the return flight.

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How fortunate were we to be able to have seen the sunrise two times with in 10 hours?

Upon arrival, it was an overcast/ foggy day.  Oh wait…that’s not fog.  It’s friggin’ smog!  Great!  And one of the higher end ratings on the “smog-o-meter.”  Can we turn this gigantic tin can around?

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You can barely see the shoreline on the Yangtze River

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The sign on the bridge reads “Hang on bronchial tubes…I’m commin’ to get’cha!”  

After disembarking, we made our way to immigration and stood in line for about 45 minutes. A few questions, a quick photo and we’re officially here! We grabbed our luggage and managed to find our driver holding up a sign with our names on it. With the mini van all loaded, we made our way to our (two month temporary) “apartment”…more like a glorified hotel room (very nice!). As exhausted as we were, we had enough energy to set the place up then head out for dinner. Too tired to research near by what’s good, we ended up with…

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Nothing says “Welcome to China” quite like pizza Margherita!

Boy, was it good! We strolled around a bit before heading back home, but not before seeing this (Cleveland peeps will get it)!

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I should stop in to see if they have chip dip!

Exhausted as can be, we went to bed around 10:30pm… about 29 1/2 hours after our 3:00am alarm.  I believe we both crashed out mid-tooth brushing! One last thing is this quote that flashed on the TV on the plane…

“Every dreamer that knows it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to.”  -Judith Thurman

I feel this quote sums up our outlook on this year-long adventure. Although I’ve never been here (Paul has two times briefly), I know it will capture our hearts and will be surely missed a year from now!

7 thoughts on “Shanghai: The First 24 Hours

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