Up early and packed. Breakfast and onto a train headed from Wuxi to Hongqiao station in Shanghai. It's going to be a long day of travel with many stages. This was stage 1.
I had another American celebrity moment. The dude in the seat in front of me was taking selfies and making sure his phone was high enough and angled such that I was in the picture too. He asked if we could take a picture together. He was pretty excited to meet an American. Not the first time. Certainly won't be the last.
Hongqiao station in Shanghai is on the far west side of the city. We had to make our way to the far east side of the city to Pudong airport. It's about thirty miles across the city. Shanghai is just stupid big. Stage two of our journey was to hop on a subway. The number two line will go all the way to Pudong, but we opted to hop off about half way and take the MAGLEV.
It's a train that floats on magnets and screams along at about 300 KPH. It wasn't as smooth as expected and it was a bit weird how it leaned into the corners. Aiyun told me it's been around for a long time. It was a short ride, but it took us all the way to Pudong pretty quick. Odd thing. Foreigner count jumped from 1 to 5 on the Maglev. It's sort of a touristy thing.
Made it to Pudong early enough that we grabbed lunch and had time to chill a bit. We boarded our plane around sunset so we got this view for about an hour.
We're getting lucky on the timing of the trip. Historically the temperatures are extreme in Harbin. Our first full day out tomorrow will be the warmest (least cold) day in January. Have a peak at our expected temperatures (in Fahrenheit).
So where exactly are we going? Harbin is really far north. It's the red star below. The purple star is Hangzhou where I live and work. Just a bit north of Harbin is the Russian border. Over that line is Siberia. Harbin is directly north of North Korea.
We made to the taxis in Harbin after getting off the plane and took yet another step (bullet train, subway, Maglev, airplane, taxi). When we entered the city there were several ice sculptures. It's very cool how they light them inside with various colors. Lots of pics to follow tomorrow.
Made it to our room. Have a quick tour.
It's now 11:30PM. Wiped out and need to crash. Looking forward to our first day out and about in Harbin!