May 24, 2008

The Pigeons are in the Henhouse

Or some such nonsense to describe the fact that my parents arrived safely in Shanghai this morning :-) I met them at the gate, then took them to their hotel. I wanted to show them the Nanpu Bridge, but some roads were closed due to the Olympic torch running through town (I mean, being carried by people, not that the torch has anthromoporphized and is scurrying around under its own power). This situation caused our taxi driver some consternation, so we ended up detouring to my neck of the woods, so I showed them my area (Thumb Plaza, apartment, metro stop, etc.) and such. The driver asked if we still wanted to go see the bridge via this new route, but my parents were barely awake in the back seat so we decided to just get to the hotel.

After checking in and such, they were too tired to even leave the room, so we ordered room service (tuna sandwiches -- got to ease them into the local cuisine gently) and then I left because I could tell they were barely hanging on to consciousness :-) Not that I can blame them after a 2-hour flight, 2-hour layover, and 14-hour flight that all began at 3 AM EST. But they're safe here and that's all that matters :-)

To get to the airport to pick them up, I took the Maglev, which was pretty slick. The 50 kuai ticket is about half the cost of a taxi ride and gets you there about 10 times as fast. So in every sense, it's worth the money. I think I'll just take it out there from now on, especially because the terminal station is only two metro stops away from my apartment. The train reached a top speed of 431 km/hr (about 268 miles per hour) which, I mean, is insane. The speed is displayed as an LED readout in the cabin. And you can indeed see the scenery, what little of it there is, rushing by super fast. At one point I heard a loud WHUM and felt a small vibration. I was a little unnerved until I heard another passenger say "the other train just passed us!" Yes there are not one but TWO Maglev trains, and they run in parallel to keep up operations. When two trains are moving at 268 miles per hour and pass each other within like 10 - 20 feet, there's bound to be some noise :-)

Anyhoo, all is well, and tomorrow I begin to play tour guide :-) Well, moreso than I did today.

1 comment:

Aunt Ilene said...

I know you'll take good care of your 'pigeons' and show them a great time. Give them a hug for me. love, aunt i.