Thursday 1st – Saturday 3rd March
With anticipation levels high, I managed to entertain myself by doing errands all day on Thursday, right up until about 30 mins before my cab. Traffic to Heathrow was weirdly great which meant my “it’s rush hour and it’s snowing” additional timing plan gave me a lovely chilled time in the airport to do some duty free shopping and have a nice bowl of pasta. En route I slept and watched Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri – what a great film! Had heard people raving and will now join them; some interesting and unexpected character developments which lead the film down a path I really wasn’t expecting.
(11.5 hour flight + 8 hours new time zone later…)
When I landed in Shanghai I was picked up by Elaine who is one of the project assistants and after around a 90 min taxi journey I was greeted by alllllll the team who were gathered in the reception of the hotel. So amazing to see all the faces I’ve seen on webex so many times, in actual real life!
Nine of us walked into Shanghai, with Bruno leading the way having had a couple of days in the city already. We took the ferry from Pudōng over the Huángpu River and then walked up towards the Bund. Just off the main road we headed down Fuzhou Road to Shanghai Grandmother, a delicious food spot – we ordered a load of random things from the menu and shared everything. Throughout the city, it wasn’t as busy as any of us had been expecting, cars and people! We then took the metro home, and that’s where all the people were, ha, was like London (yay).
On Saturday morning we travelled on the bus to Changzhou, which took around three hours – the first hour was like getting out of London, literally took that long to get out of the city. On the way we saw a lot if groups of high rise blocks of flats, in clusters as this area is very highly populated. Was good to chat with some of the team on the way and at the rest stop I managed to find some food to try – a pancake with egg, lettuce and hot sauce (there was an optional sausage too). Would recommend, a very good snack, no idea what it’s called and Congming just said it was a pancake. Once we arrived at the hotel we got our rooms and then headed straight out for a late lunch during which Congming and Jing ordered a range of things for us.
That evening after some late dinner at the hotel, a few of us found a bar for a Saturday night beer and some live music. We stocked up on some random snacks at a local convenience store and headed home ahead of the busy orientation day on Sunday!
I have been testing out the go pro with some highs and lows, some of the photos you’ll see in this post are from it and I’m pleased with them… more to come via video when I can edit it together. Loving things so far, the group and the food is great. Everyone is so friendly – so far so good!