First Impressions

Long time, no blog!  Lots of complications with internet and firewalls,  but hope to be able to post regularly from now on.

Arrived at Shanghai airport around 4:00 in the afternoon on Wednesday after a twelve hour flight that was long but problem-free.  As we waited for our luggage at the baggage carousel, I watched with some interest as a group of 5 people moved to one side, opened all their luggage and began to chatter loudly as they loaded what appeared to be a large number of duty-free items into each of their bags..  I looked a little further and saw another group doing the same thing.  The customs gates were about 100 metres away but clearly no one was the least bit concerned.  Later we noticed them going through the “nothing to declare” line.  Fascinating!

Were met by Harvey, the owner of our school, and our new good friend, Daisy.   They had a bus ready for us and the two other staff members of our school, Puneet and Wes.  We were excited but tired as we drove the hour and a half into Jaixing.  Along the way, we saw the familiar sites I remember of China:  lush green mixed vegetable farms along the freeway interspersed with small scale fish farms; apartment complexes of 20 towers 20 stories each; the striking blend of old and modern.   We were here!

Arriving in Jaixing, we passed under an archway announcing one of the local manufacturing businesses, Elegant Prosper Clothing Company.   The streets are wide and heavily treed.   It does not give the impression of being large, really., but we know it is home to 3.5 million people.

Although exhausted, we were all hungry and happy to go for our first meal in China.   The driver pulled into a dead-end parking lot with cars parked cheek by jowl and managed to maneuver into a spot vacated behind us by slowly but certainly backing-up and into the slot, narrowly missing parked and moving cars and pedestrians.  Apparently this is what a horn is for.  More on driving at another date.

When we finally reached our apartment, we fell into bed hoping for a solid night’s sleep.  We would have but for the bed.  The mattress was not what we are used to:  a 2” slab.  We tried but it was actually painful to lie on this platform; we started the next day tired but happy that our adventure had begun.

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