Tuesday, April 22, 2008

China Day Two - Beijing To Shanghai

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

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We tumbled out of the plane and found ourselves in a very sleek and modern airport terminal. All we could say was wow. I guess we were expecting something more severe. One of the first things we noticed was how cute a lot of the signs and advertisements were in China, which of course appealed to us very much:

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I love how the police warning above states very nonchalantly that "aliens who do not lodge at hotels, guestlodges, or inns shall, within 24 hours of entry, go through ACCOMMODATION REGISTRATION at local police station"..."accommodation registration"?...I love the way they sugarcoat "spend the night in jail"...

After making our way through customs (those customs officers were so serious it was a bit nerve-wracking), we got our first taste of "OLYMPIC FEVER" while taking the escalator down to the baggage claim area - we were greeted by the different Olympic panda mascots participating in various sports activities, like "shooting at people from behind bushes":

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...and then we had our first of many many many YAO MING sightings:

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(broken english = awesome)

There was this impressive clock that counted down the days until the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing, on August 8th, 2008...we later learned that the number "8" was a lucky number in Chinese culture, thus the special date...08-08-08...

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Well, we had a lot of time to kill before our flight to Shanghai. Dragging our luggage behind us, we decided to explore the terminal:

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It was funny to see a couple of very american brand names in China...this wasn't the "Communist China" our parents grew up with:

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(happy Chinese folks enjoying a 12-piece bucket)

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(a model of the olympic stadium...brought to you by Coca-Cola)

We bided our time by watching the big screen televisions...

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Missy used some of our free time to fill out her day planner...

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...and then she made a new friend...

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After five hours of waiting we started to wonder if we were ever going to get on that plane to Shanghai...

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After a long wait, we were finally on our short flight to our final destination. By this time Missy had decided to name her neck pillow "XIE XIE" (pronounced "sheh sheh"), which is chinese for "thank you"...

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...and then...tired and grubby...we arrived in SHANGHAI!

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Soon, we were in a taxi on our way to the hotel, careening down a rain-slicked freeway...the taxi driver was driving over 100 MPH, beeping his horn at every car we passed. Missy sat up front and was lucky enough to have a seatbelt, while I sat in the back bouncing around and hanging on to nothing but dear life...we would later learn that people drive CRAZY in China...

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(Missy looking back at me...her eyes are saying, "this guy is gonna kill us!")

We made it to the SHERATON GRAND alive! Entering the hotel, we were impressed with how swanky everything was. Our room was pretty awesome too...we were especially impressed with our bathroom:

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(sweet-ass glass sink!)

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(free rubber duckies!)

After each of us took long hot showers, we watched what is possibly the funniest tv show EVER...this Korean variety show called HAPPY TOGETHER...the show wasn't even in english, but we laughed our asses off regardless. It was a great way to finally end our marathon flight to China...

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From the commercial (which, inexplicably, was in english), we learned the premise of Happy Together: take a bunch of Korean celebrities - comedians, actors, pop stars - get them drunk, stick them in a sauna, and see what happens...

There were silly costumes and towels wrapped funnily around heads...

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...and contests. Contests without prizes. They didn't give prizes to the winners. These contests were purely for entertainment value...kinda like "Who's line is it anyways?"...pointless, but entertaining nonetheless.

There was a dance contest:

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...a screaming contest:

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...a contest to see who could open their mouth the widest - they put lipstick on and then pressed their lips up against the glass:

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...and a Make Me Laugh-style contest...where contestants try to make this one dude laugh...by wearing more silly costumes:

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Hands down, one our new favorite shows...if only we could get it through our Charter Cable plan...

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