We landed at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport at 2:12 pm local time, and arrived at Terminal 2. We stood in line for immigration, but eventually made it through and found our luggage arriving on the carousel. Some of us exchanged dollars for Renminbi before our simple exit through customs. In the main terminal, we were surprised to find hordes of people lining our path, waiting for other passengers while holding their names on signs. David’s parents recently moved to Shanghai, so he was pleased to find them waiting for us when we landed.
The terminal itself was impressive, having opened in 2008. It was clean, spacious, and so long it was impossible to see end-to-end. We noticed some intersting technology, including body scanners which checked our temperature and machines that placed our video image side-by-side with our passport photo at the immigration desk. Overall the airport didn’t seem too crowded, but perhaps that was because it is Sunday.
We met our guide Jenny who took us outside to wait for our bus to Hangzhou. We were hardly in the mood for a 2+ hour bus ride, but there were plenty of interesting things to see along the way. The famed Maglev train passed us in a flash, while we passed thousands of apartment buildings. The apartments were mixed among industrial sites, garden plots, smaller homes, and almost endless new apartment construction sites. We passed over the Long River and soon found ourselves in more rural, yet populated areas between Shanghai and Hangzhou. China is in the process of extending the maglev from its current 30 Kilometers to 200 – all the way from Pudong Airport to Hangzhou. We passed miles of new construction for the new train, and it was fascinating to see. While on the bus, we reflected on our travel experiences to this point.
We finally checked into the Friendship Hotel at about 7:00 pm, and we headed out to dinner as a group at 7:45. We had a very interesting banquet style meal, and were glad to discover it cost us only about $5.00 each.
I think everyone is looking forward to getting some sleep before beginning our day at 8:15 in the morning.