Greetings from Southeast China! After two delayed flights, a van ride across the border, transition to a local taxi, I eventually arrived at my destination - exhausted and confused. It was an interesting adventure and think it's just going to keep getting more interesting as the days go by.
The longest flight I'd ever been on was about 5 hours so the idea of the 16 hour flight (after a short 1 hour connecting flight) sounded awful. I went in thinking the worst and while it certainly wasn't pleasant, it wasn't quite as bad as I had pictured. I ate every morsel of airplane food placed in front of me (to help pass the time), watched 4 movies, read a magazine, read half a book and took 2 naps.
It was late at night when I arrived into the destination city and communication proved to be a little more challenging than I thought. I had plenty of reference material that included the places I needed to go in Chinese characters and the cell phone number of one person. After finally being able to get someone to call the number, I was dropped off at what looked like a large bank building. The middle of the night, in a foreign city and I think I'm completely stranded - wonderful. I eventually find an open door and there's a guy at a desk who must understand the panic in my eyes and leads me to the elevator and the correct floor. I was actually in the correct location but I saw no signs indicating there was a hotel in the building.
I spent my first day adjusting to the time difference and since it was rainy all day and I still was clueless about where I was, I decided to just stay at the hotel and not even try to figure out my surroundings. I'm a few days into the trip now and thanks to co-workers am starting to figure out the nearby area.
Running has only taken place on the lone, tiny treadmill at the hotel, but I'm hoping that will change on the weekends - we will see what I can figure out.
I've consumed more unknown food in the last three days than I have in the last three years. I thought eating would be fairly easy - give me some vegetables & rice or vegetables & noodles and I'd be fine. I'm quite surprised by the amount of meat the people eat. Given that I just have to let others order for me or just point to things, I've had some unknown items. Unknown sea creatures floating in a bowl of soup, parts of chicken that I didn't think should go in a chicken dish. I never even thought about the fact that utensils might be hard to come by, but am slowly getting the hang of becoming a chopsticks master. I'm trying to be open to things (within reason) but I was desperate for some American food tonight and ended up with an order of cheese fries, a soda and a box of cookies - I feel better and was glad I was able to find something like that! I ditched the co-workers tonight so I could go on the quest.