Some of the stuff which passes through my life

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Shanghai – The Journey

Or how to get from Dunfermline to Shanghai on two planes

01 Nov Edinburgh Airport (1)1st November, nice and early, saw me take a straightforward taxi trip to Edinburgh Airport. A swift bagdrop with Virgin (why was I not offered a free upgrade to Upper Class? Hmmmph) followed by what must have been the speediest trip I’ve ever had through security was followed by a relaxing cup of coffee and a croissant for my breakfast.

This was subsequently followed by a speedy run through the terminal to collect ordered and paid for Chinese currency which I’d momentarily forgotten about!

Virgin on the ridiculous

01 Nov Heathrow

Boarded Virgin Little Red (this particular plane called Rosy Lea) and headed down to Heathrow. Glad that I’d had something to eat at Edinburgh as the inflight offering was tea or coffee and a biscuit. No hot chocolate although I was offered a glass of wine as a substitute. I did think that 9.30 in the morning was a little on the early side.
Arrival at Heathrow and a quick terminal change on Virgin’s bus went smoothly followed by lunch from Pret. Good thing I opted once again for airport fare as in flight offerings didn’t come until much later and weren’t exactly, well, food.

Boarded the plane for Shanghai – my first experience of Virgin Atlantic proper (Little Red is run by Air Lingus). It has been a toss-up whether to go British Airways or Virgin – in a rerun I’d probably go BA. So what was it like? OK is probably the best I can do.

  • Minuscule amounts of space (I’m 5′ 3″ and I had no legroom, god help you if you’re 6 ‘ 3″)
  • Food – pretty meh apart from the Gu dessert. The pasta didn’t really deserve to be called pasta – glutinous mess would have been a better description.
  • After dinner hot chocolate was more like chocolate colored water.
  • Midnight feast (sorry, snack) was described on the package as sausage and sage danish. It was a squashed sausage roll and a not particularly good one at that.
  • Breakfast. Well, the less said the better. If it hadn’t been for the Rachel’s yoghurt it would have been a non-event.
  • Service – pretty poor. Inordinate waits when you pressed the call button and few people were doing it.
  • The good bits:
    • Flight was on time
    • Excellent company on my row with Edith and her young daughter Jessica who were moving out to Shanghai for a couple ¬†of years. Jessica and I spent a good amount of time playing games on each other’s iPads. She was far, far better than me at Temple Run.

Arrival in Shanghai

Fairly fast trip through immigration and luggage connection and found Julian on the other side. Off for a decent cup of coffee and then head up to Tongji.

02 Nov Shanghai Maglev (5) 02 Nov Shanghai Maglev (8)Feeling more awake that I should I suggested that a trip on the Maglev should be undertaken. This was fast. In fact it was finished before you’d really got settled in – certainly no time for a drinks service. 430 km per hour. That’s 267 mph. That is pretty fast.

We arrived at Longyang Road station where we nearly got ripped off by a taxi driver who wanted to charge us 380 yuan. Oh, and his meter wasn’t working and if it had been it would have been more. No thanks! Quick change of plan and let’s go by Metro (4 yuan). Found the right line, changed at the right place, went in the wrong direction, got off and then went in the right direction. Arrived at Tongji University Metro station. Phew!

A swift beer followed by some sleep where I could actually stretch my legs out quickly put me to rights.

Later had a walk around Tongji University, paid my respects to Chairman Mao. Had a bit more beer (it helps with rehydration…) followed by dinner and sleep.

Hello Shanghai – nice to meet you!