August 6-7, 2012
Marriott City Center
My flight from Istanbul to Shanghai was scheduled for a 12:30am departure and I honestly can't tell you if we departed on time or not. I was sound asleep as soon as I sat down in my chair. Walking around Istanbul for 7 miles in the 90 degree weather sapped my energy and thus I slept for 90% of the 10 hour flight. Unfortunately I missed the meal service, but I think I can handle missing a meal or two.
We landed in Shanghai at 3:40pm and after collecting my luggage made my way to the Metro into the city. I was hot, sweaty and getting a bit aggravated as the train made 17 stops prior to my destination... a good hour of stop and go in the subway. I finally reached my destination and checked in to the Marriott City Center which proved to be one of the trips' great hotels.
Only a couple of years old, the Marriott is located right near the main pedestrian road, NikeTown Shanghai and the famous Bund (waterfront area). Shanghai is a huge city, over 30 million people and I think I saw 25 million of them on my 20 hours here. The city is packed but there is plenty of space for people to move. Back to the hotel.... my final night of the trip and I was upgraded to a corner suite... a sweet corner suite!
I was scheduled to meet a new St. Joseph student at 7:00pm in the lobby and I didn't arrive at the Marriott until 6:00pm and needed some exercise so I found the pool and did a lap... actually a few laps and felt much better. I made my way down to the lobby and met "Robbie" and his parents and answered any and all of their questions. Robbie was very polished and will do a great job at St. Joseph.
After our meeting I went out on the town, visited the amazing Nike Town where things were twice as expensive then in the USA and walked down the busy pedestrian mall being asked no less than 30 times if I wanted a massage. Now I know I love massages, but I think these massages aren't the kind that one would find in a reputable establishment... so I declined, and declined and declined some more. I think next year I will wear a shirt that says "I do NOT need a massage" ... maybe that will help.
Back home at midnight for lights out and shockingly the lights were back on at 3:30am as a bit of jet lag had overtaken me... not too big of a worry as I had many hours of airplane time later today to catch up. I headed down to a great breakfast and then walked the mile or so down to the Nanjing Market Place where all sorts of "fake" good can be purchased.
I hate to barter, but today I was determined... but I still think I paid too much as I purchased two ICE watches for about $14 / each. These watches retail in the stores for $110, so a 90% discount is hardly anything to complain about. Hopefully they will work! This was a very aggressive market place as many shop owners would try and grab your arm and walk you into their store... I'm pretty tough so I didn't let this happen, lots of "No Thank You's" were said and I made my way back to the hotel for a quick shower and 11am checkout.
I hopped on the subway for the 30 minute journey to Shanghai's other airport, got lost for about 15 minutes while at the airport, even though I asked for directions 4 times! Finally I got to the correct terminal and found my flight... up in the air to Japan and then across the Pacific.
The journey is coming to an end...