So for my first post, I'm going to add in some stuff I wrote on my flights here. Then I'll get onto more up to date things.

First point, If you have to decide between one of the london airports and birmingham international, pick birmingham international. Its very quiet, and very easy to get around, was all fairly friendly, definately be going there again far as flying out goes. So getting on the plane was no biggie... Aside from a sniffer dog getting dead interested in my wallet, of course full of holiday cash. Seem its true what they say about £20 notes all having high traces of cocaine or something.

7th April 6:40

I've woken up onboard a 737. Looking out of the window, I saw a ship in the ocean. Big one obviously, I can see it. So I fumbled around for a camera in excitement at this thing, and by the time I've tried to snap a picture we've flown past it. Great. It is about then I realise IMMENSE PAIN. What woke me up was not the ship we were flying over, oh no, its that my ears haven't been popping. Time to put my scuba diving experience into use!

EQUALISE!

holding my nose I blow hard as possible, And I think the air blowing out of my ears must have gone sonic, making a squelling PSSST noise as it went. Sure it was more comfortable than pressurized ears, but that wasn't the nicest experience.

Funny thing is as writing this, we passed over the shore, and some typically dutch windmills (hey Okashii, I can see your house!) we'd touched down on the runway. Last thing I noticed is man - How many people take hand size luggage and check it in? Whats the point having a tiny bag in the cargo hold of a plane? (yeah my seat was over the cargo door, so I could watch them unload afer lol)

8th April -time not recorded-

Finished the last of my space icecream I got for christmas. I'd been saving it for a special occasion. Sure, I haven't quite gone into space, but I think this counts enough for something, sitting on a 747 flying to Shanghai.

KLM 747's are pretty nice. you can choose what you watch, play, etc (yes it has games, but they aint amazing) on your screen. They had space battleship yamato, but it didn't bloody work. So instead watched inception, so can't complain as I hadn't seen that either, and it was pretty good. Though when you are doing something as surreal as I am, it may not be the best food for thought.

Speaking of food, A) airline food was pretty good, 2 meals lots of drinks included etc, and B) lol amsterdam airport. I'm not suprised we got scanned again even though it was a transfer - you can buy cheese cutters and stuff in the duty free. You can also buy actual blocks of cheese, the proper ones. I guess if you couldn't bring a cheese cutter on the plane, you could always whack someone over the head with a 2 kilo block of cheese.

.... Once at the hotel, after plugging in my laptop and seeing the internet again~! (most of you have probably read this part on forums or by email, but adding it for record...)

Flights were exhaustive, bear in mind I did not sleep the night before I left, and slept an hour on the first plane, then I think 4 hours on the 747 I went on last, and jeezus it is not enough. When I finally got to the hotel door I started wondering if shanghai could feel the aftershocks in japan, because I felt like the floor was moving.

I've used the language a little since getting here, I asked someone in chinese how to find my hotel, all from memory too no book, and they understood and gave me an answer! Shame I forgot to think about how to understand the answer, and gained nothing from it but luckily they knew english too and then told me in english. I'm glad they let me try despite knowing how otherwise, most people I've seen so far didn't have the patience, but then if you have a lot of customers, like in an airport, it makes sense to stick with the language people are more comfortable with.


9th April

Had one good sleep last night, And I needed it. One shower and some chinese TV later, I'm at breakfast. I've been looking up my phrases and such, but still that did not stop it from being one of the most uncomfortable experiences I've had in a while.

Whats this? Is it rude to pick this up this way? Can I come back for more? What the hell that looks like a heart or something! many of the things that came to mind. In the end, I went bollocks to the majority of it and just went along with whatever seemed to be what people were doing. I didn't eat the organ shaped thing though. Nothing tastes as I'd expect, the noodles tasted more like mushrooms. The dimsum I'd had that kinda thing before, but again it wasn't the same. Oddly, there were these things that I have no idea exactly what they are, but they tasted like celery, and I like that. Might have been bamboo or something, I dunno.

I tried my hand at chinese speaking again to have a minor monitary disaster. I saw a fridge with coke in it. Now, its probably a luxury item here anyway, but regardless, temptation got the better of me. "Daoshao qian?" I ask, I get some response that my mind automatically says "think shes asking how you paying" so I end up just pulling out a note, much simpler. She grabs one out, deals the change, holy shit that just cost me 15 RMB. about £1.50 for a 330ml can. Fu-

Oh well, guess I'd get that buying an airport hotel. Nice going genius.

Of course the additional thing I did today is finally get this blog set up. I'm going to get out my books, and go back to the airport and find the supermarket in there, the plan is to do it entirely by chinese directions, and then start asking prices. I do not intend to actually buy anything unless its cheap, and I'll probably get on someones nerves, but I can't be dealing with a disaster that costs 0.5% of my holiday budget again on a bloomin can of drink!

Tonight at midnight is my pickup with the Study China Program. Lots of time to practice before I see them. Dunno what I'm going to do with my luggage for 12 hours, maybe thats the first challenge.
 
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