Saturday, June 3, 2017

      Traveling to China

       Miranda Smith and Madison MacElrevey
          Westerville, OH and Lewes, DE
          Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
          Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

Before I get to the good stuff.....      
For those of you who care, I'm actually writing another blog for my family and friends to read!           My posts here may be somewhat similar to the ones on my other blog, however, the ones on my other blog may be a little more in depth about each of our individual adventures. I'm kind of going to condense things on here for the sake of Madison having having her own things to talk about! If you're interested in more, my blog is on word press and is called The Girls Who Stare at Pandas!

          Greeting from China! The first month in China has been quite awesome! But I suppose I should start at the beginning of the story. 
Tuesday, May 9th at 8:30am I boarded a plane for LaGuardia to meet up with my companion Madison so we wouldn’t have to walk into China alone. 
I met up with Madison at the terminal and we flew to Detroit. The only notable thing about Detroit was the tram inside the airport! I definitely made Madison ride it with me!
                                             Our first selfie together!
So, we got on this GIANT plane headed for China! I have never seen, much less been on, a plane as big as that before. It blew my mind! This one had a second level and everything!

Shout out to the dude who gave me the peace sign!  

Two Floors!
From Detroit to Shanghai it ended up being about 13 hours. I was well aware of how hard it was going to be but because it was my first time being on a plane that long, the newness made everything kind of exciting and less crummy! You have a screen in front of you and you can pick from about 50 different movies! You can also keep track of your flight!

Yes, I am watching Moana
How awesome is that! Having a count down really keeps you sane. There was also food! Not great food, but a distraction nonetheless!
Our flight went from Detroit over the Arctic to Shanghai. We actually ended up flying way more west and then south than the original map! Here’s a picture of the Russian tundra! And our actual route!

We went way west of our original route!
We landed in China at about 6:30 pm (China time) so 6:30am (Ohio time). We got in the customs line and once we were cleared, we got our bags, went though bag security, and then rechecked our bags, then went through people security. All of that was easy; most of the airport signs have English underneath the Chinese.

Madison's first step into China! 

Everything has got English on it! Praise!  

We found our terminal just fine and sat down for a 45 min wait till our plane to Chengdu boarded at 9:05. An hour later we were still waiting. And the hour after that. And the hour after that. It was about 11pm now and all we knew was that we couldn’t leave because of “air control”.
That was frustrating because other planes were taking off and coming in this whole time! The airport around us emptied out as all the other planes boarded and left and the shops closed. Everyone was getting impatient and slowly passengers began crowding around the airport employees desk. Finally at 11:15pm they started lining us up to board!

We are happy to finally be boarding!

We got on the plane…and 45 min later we were still sitting at the airport. I think they put us on the plane just to shut everyone up. It was a lot better waiting on the plane though because they gave us food and drinks (a sandwich), the seats were cushioned, and you could just sit back and relax. We finally started moving at 12:17 but I must have fallen asleep right after because next thing I know, I wake up and it’s 2:30am. We landed in Chengdu at 3:30am! We got off the plane and followed everybody else to the baggage claim, because the Chengdu Airport has a lot less English on the signs. 

Now comes my favorite part of that day! While we were waiting for our bags Madison went to the bathroom and when she came back she had a smile on her face and said “Guess what” and I replied “Squatty potties?” and she answered “oh yeah”, and then I grabbed my phone and literally ran to the bathroom. I have been hearing about these toilets for months now and I was dying to try it out.

Judge me if you will, but I think they are kind of fun! Not hard at all!
Anyways, we got our bags and then we called the girl from the college who was supposed to pick us up at the airport. Our plane was 3 hours late and it was 3:30 in the morning, so we were pretty positive no one would be there to get us. She didn’t answer the phone and as we walked toward the doors Madison and I chatted about what we would do if we didn’t get a call back. Thankfully, right as we got to the doors we saw a girl standing outside with my name on a sign. It was good knowing after all of that travel, we wouldn’t have to sleep on a bench in the Chengdu airport until morning!

They hired a driver to take us to the University!

We spent the next hour in a car going to Southwest Jiaotong University, our home for the next three months! That’s actually a lie….but we didn’t know that at the time, so you will have to wait for that story! Cliff hanger!!!

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