2008-11-22

The way to Shanghai

My trip to China started by taking my bags with me downstairs in time for when the taxi are supposed to be outside waiting. When I came down, no taxi. I waited a couple of more minutes and still no taxi. I was just about to call the taxi company when my mobile phone rang in my pocket. It was the driver not finding my address. It didn't exist in his car GPS but he could find the street in the paper map he had in the car with him. Still he was standing on the wrong road and had no idea how to get to me. So I had to guess where he was and describe for him how to drive to me while I was walking in the direction I believed he was. Finaly he came and my journey could start for real.

I got to the airport the same minute the check in started and I was the first one there to stand in the line. So no waiting until I got to the gate. I now have so much time to spare while I am waiting for the plane. I spent most of it watching people which can be quite interesting.

I had to change plane in Helsinki, Finland to get to Shanghai. When I walked the way to my new gate it was very obvious that Finnair is aiming a lot of focus on Asia. I saw Asian people everywhere! Really amazing! Probably most of them have connection flights to other parts of Europe, because I have hard to believe that so many of them want to visit Finland.

Just when I came from the tax free shop chewing on some Terva Leijona I met Santa Claus and one of his elves standing in some kind of stage with Christmas decorations and a lot of spotlights.. The elf aproached me and said something in Finnish "Yxi kaxi gamli byxi". I said in Swedish "Om du pratar finska så pratar jag svenska". The elf then replied "Lukti tutti mycki smutti" and I continued "Om du envisas så fortsätter jag med svenska". Then she got the message and asked if I can speak english. She asked what my plans were for the moment and I pointed at a huge queue to my gate and explained that I will spend most of my time in Finland there. She said that it is no hurry because that queue will not walk away for a while and continued by asking me where I come from and before I had time to open my mouth she guessed at Sweden. I could not do much else than confess and she kept talking and said that she could understand it because no other nationality would like to eat Terva Leijona. I agreed... This candy I had been chewing is a bit special with its tar taste. It can be somewhat compared to the special taste of salty liquorice. We in the Nordic countries love this but in most other countries it is very strange with this taste in candy. I love it!

The rest of the long plane trip over to Shanghai is not so interesting. I can mostly complain about people making noise and the big LCD screen in front of me at the wall switching from a light picture to a dark picture and so on the whole flight making it quite annoying and impossible for me to sleep. Yes, I didn't get any sleep for the whole trip. That is the one thing I hate about travel long distances, the absence of sleep. In this case it was worse than ever because I got up really early in the morning and the plane lands at 08:20 Chinese time and that means I still have to be up a long time before bedtime.

Girlwing came to meet me at the airport and so was her parents and a couple of their friends. They had just bought a minivan and they used it to drive us all to my hotel. We just checked in and left my bags and then we went to see some relatives.

First we went to a baker to buy a cake as a present. The bakers in China are real artists. I have never seen such masterpieces of art made of cream anywhere in the world and that can be seen at most bakeries in China. But I must say that I think the cakes in Sweden are more tasty because they are a bit dry in China.

We visited Girlwings fathers mothers sister because that day it was the one year mourning day of her late husband. Directly when we got up to the floor of her apartment I could feel the smell of something burning and directly when I got in to the apartment I saw a fire on the floor of the living room. They were burning silver paper folded in the way Chinese money looked like in the ancient times. They didn't burn just two or three of them but two big plastic bags filled with them. Every person present were supposed to burn a bunch of them so we gave about the same amount of money to him in heaven. This money get transfered to him in the afterlife in this way. When they were out of money to burn they burned up the big A4 picture of the man in case he needs the picture for a heaven ID-card. It was smoke everywhere and that was a bit uncomfortable for the eyes.

After some talking, mostly about me, it was time for lunch. We ate: Ya Tuei 鸭腿 (duck bone), Bao Yu 爆鱼 (marinated and fried fish), Yu Quai 鱼块 (regular boiled fish), Pi Dan 皮蛋 (pickled egg), Hai Jue 海蜇 (jellyfish). I tried the jellyfish first and that had a very special sensation chewing it. It is kind of bouncy and at the same time very easy to chew. It doesn't really taste anything but the sauce it was in is very tasty. The best one was the marinated fish. It was red and very juicy, probably from the marinade.

After lunch it was more talking and soon fruit was served for dessert and more talking. Then I and three of the girls went out shopping in a mall. First we bought facial care stuff and then we went out hunting for fancy bags. I was extremely tired and sat down as soon as I got a chance and I fell asleep several times where I was sitting.

A couple of hours in the big mall we took a taxi to a big restaurant. In this kind of restaurant every party have their own room with a big round table for ten people. There you can be as private or loud as you want or smoke without disturbing the other guests so much. They ordered in twelve dishes of all different kinds. The most interesting one was the snake 蛇 (She). It was fried to a golden color and looked much like fish. It was very very tasty but a little hard to eat because of all the bones and not so much meat that was quite dry. After the food was eaten we started with the cake that we bought earlier in the morning. I got two pieces! :D

Before the night was over we went to Girlwings parents to pack her stuff and be social for some time before we could go to the hotel.

Then finally I can go back to the hotel and take a shower and go to sleep. I got to bed just before midnight and had been awake for 35 hours. I really need my 8 hours sleep!

3 comments:

Smernaz said...

Didn't you do your military service? The only thing you learn is to sleep any chance you get. Does not matter what is happening around you or in what position you have to spend your sleep. Standing is always an option. :)

pel said...

Strange, somehow I never thought of snake being particulary bony. I wonder why.

Boywing said...

Yes I did military service and I remember falling asleep whenever I got the shortest break and it was like that when I was walking around shopping with the girls but on the plane I couldn't relax at all.

The snake was mostly bone. Kind of like a fish but with strong and flexible bones so they didn't break or fall off. It was spine and ribs all over. Don't be afraid to try when you go to China. :)