到了杭州 Arriving in Hangzhou

So its been about a week (and a half) since I have arrived in Hangzhou, but I think the story is interesting enough to retell. So after much procrastinated packing and grueling anticipation June 22nd finally arrived and it was time for me to head to China. I started out at the Portland Jetport where my parents fortunately(?) enough were able to come to the gate and say their last farewell. After a short flight spent helping a mother from Memphis figure out her son’s new living arrangements in Portland (Are there really young people there?) I arrived in Detroit. In Detroit I waited 3 hours, ate my last meal in America (Quizno’s sub) and downloaded movies for the plane.

In short, the 15-something hour flight to Shanghai sucked. Food was bad, spilled coffee on myself, no good movies, mean flight attendants (there are NO more pillows SIR) crying babies…that sort of stuff. Finally, however the plane descended from the thick wad of clouds (smog?) and I could finally see a bit of bustling Shanghai.

This picturesque descent ended suddenly, as the mad rush to grab bags and get off the plane began. I enjoyed going through customs and being able to rate the performance of my customs officer (I gave her the extreme smiley instead of the angry crying face). After the baggage claim, a mad dash through the entire airport to the “long distance bus station” to catch my four hour bus to Hangzhou. Finding the bus station was my first chance to actually use Mandarin in China (novel idea) by nervously uttering “买在那里” (where do I buy) and she responded by pointing to the ticket window.

The bus was hot and uncomfortable and after spending 4 hours in the hottest box ever conceived, I finally arrived in Hangzhou. But my travel fun was by no means over. The bus dropped me off on  an empty lot on the side of the road. I had no idea where I was or how I could get to ZUT’s campus. Luckily I looked confused enough as a taxi driver pulled over and helped me in. I gave him the school’s address and was whisked away to the school. This was my first ride in Hangzhou and it thoroughly introduced me to the concept of “Chinese driving”; there are no rules (cars beat bikes, bikes beat people, pedestrians lose) lines are just suggestions, and honk you horn a lot. Finally we arrived at the school’s back gate and I finally made my way to my dorm.

Over all this 26 hour experience was completely grueling and I was completely ready to sleep forever. However, the next day at 8:30, we had our first meeting and our Chinese placement test. As I would come to find out, sleep can be entirely optional in China.


3 Responses to “到了杭州 Arriving in Hangzhou”

  1. 1 Mary Anna
    July 2, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Congrats on surviving flight and taxi! Be careful if you take up Chinese biking….I look forward to following your adventures! Love, Kate E’s mum

  2. 2 Antonio
    July 2, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    This sounds like the pits! I’m really excited to read your blog for the next 6 months! I know that I’ll always laugh 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying 中国!

  3. 3 Amber Dostie
    July 12, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    I love to sleep, and am afraid that type of like style would not be for me…. if I remember right, you liked to sleep too… 🙂

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