An impromtu visit to Shanghai


the shanghai bund
The Shanghai Bund. Thank the Maglev train for letting me get there in just 6 minutes!
We left the Sokha Angkor Resort around 2 and got a tuk tuk to Siem Reap airport. It's a 10-15 minute ride. As cute as the airport is, there isn't much seating room indoors before going through security. So, if you have a late flight, I recommend asking the hotel to either do a late check out, or ask the hotel to hold you bags so you can enjoy the day until closer to your actual flight time.

Our hotel let us check out late for no additional fee, so we didn't have to wait, and could do some last minute souvenir shopping and have a nap before leaving. Therefore, when we got to the airport, we could check in and go straight through security. Do your souvenir shopping in the city. There is a very limited selection at the airport.

Our flight to Kunming was smooth, and we knew that we were getting in early enough to get a shuttle bus to the airport and wouldn't have to go through the taxi ordeal again. Same shuttle bus, same hotel, same everything. No surprises.

Unfortunately, that night I had enough of  a stomachache to not be able to go exploring around the neighborhood as we had planned. We went back after a quick walk around the area and got room service. We asked for a couple of light dishes and some fruit. A couple of minutes later, there was a knock on the door. A waiter (perhaps) was standing outside our room holding out a plastic bag. In the bag, there was an apple and an orange.... Was that the fruit we had ordered? 10 minutes later, there was another knock at the door and our full order was brought in, including a fruit platter. Still not sure what the apple and orange were about.

The next morning, off we went again to the airport by shuttle bus, and that's where things went pear-shaped.

We were planning on checking our bags all the way to Tokyo so we wouldn't have to deal with them during transit, but when we got to the check in counter, we were told that our bags could only be checked as far as Shanghai because our flight (KMG to PVG) was late and they couldn't guarantee that we'd catch our connecting flight. In fact, they couldn't guarantee anything past getting to Shanghai. We had a 2-hour layover in Shanghai and our flight was running 1 hour late so we decided then and there to keep our bags as carry-on to shorten the procedures in Shanghai. In our optimistic minds, one hour was more than enough time to get off the plane, run to the next gate and be off for Tokyo. So with minimal bag rearrangement, we were off again.

By the time we landed in Shanghai, our connecting flight was already 30minutes closer to Tokyo. By some cruel irony, the poor visibility in Shanghai further delayed our flight but didn't affect the departure of our next flight. We headed over to the information counter and explained our situation. We're told to go around the corner to counter 1. So we go around the corner. There were 14 counters. 13 of them were closed. Including counter 1. So we line up with all the other people. There were a lot of people in front of us but a lot of people kept piling up behind us.
Waiting at Shanghai airport
All those counters except 1 are closed.
We waited for what seemed like an eternity (but was actually just about 2hours) and finally got to the only open counter. They told us we were at the wrong counter and that we had to go to (the closed) counter 1. So we go there and the lady behind the counter looks up at us and takes our names. We're 4th on the list. Turns out the next flight to Tokyo was at 5:00pm (it was at this point, 2:10pm) but it was full, and the one after that was the next morning at 9:00am. They explained that we'd have to wait until around 5:00pm to see if there would be any available seats.

We decided to take advantage of the 2+ hours to take the maglev train into the city and back.The maglev only goes at maximum speed at certain hours of the day. The time we went wasn't one of those, but it did hit 301km/hour but so smooth! Unfortunately, the weather that had caused our flight to be late also hid the little there was to see on the way from the airport to the city. It took 7minutes to get to the edge of Shanghai, and then we had to take a regular city train to the center. We walked down the main road to the Shanghai Bund.
shanghai bund
Head in the clouds, planes on the ground.
And then headed back to the airport. We rushed to the (still closed) counter 1 and asked about seats. Oh yeah, there seems to be no internet access before security at PVG so difficult to contact anyone. We were, at this point, supposed to be in just about landing in Tokyo. Suddenly a large group arrived. It included 2 women with babies, and about another 7 people and a mountain of luggage. Of course they got priority. As they left, we rushed up again and quickly gave our passports. At this point, the flight was supposed to be leaving in about 10 minutes. The airline employee attending us, frantically started inputting our data while at the counter next to us, a group of 6-8 Japanese guys burst past us and the airline employee at their counter started frantically inputting their data. The two of them started arguing about who got there first. I don't know what happened to the other guys, but we got our boarding passes and that's honestly all I cared about. We rushed through security (we had 5 minutes until departure) and ran to the gate. The flight was delayed - no information about the new departure time. So we walked around a bit and found internet access points. Sent a couple of messages to explain why I wasn't back yet, and when we checked the departures board, our flight was ready for boarding.

Goodbye China.

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