Well, we have now spent our first couple of days in Wuxi.
The journey from Macclesfield to Wuxi was okay. We stayed at the Radisson Hotel at Manchester Airport on Wednesday night as we had to leave our little house all ready for our tenants to move into. It was great to be able to relax and go for a swim before our flight on Thursday afternoon.
We flew with Qatar Airways from Manchester via Doha. Our enormous suitcases took us over the allowance and left us with a hefty charge, but we were expecting the worst so weren’t surprised. It is hard to travel light when you don’t know what to expect at the other end.
The flight was fine, but a bit draining. The section from Manchester to Doha was okay. It was a huge plane and the seats were arranged so that we didn’t have anyone else next to us. There was a good entertainments system with individual screens and movie choices, so we spent a lot of the journey watching films and TV.
The leg from Doha to Shanghai was a bit more taxing. We were both so tired and were sitting behind a row of small babies who took it in turns to complain loudly about life’s indignities. So, neither of us had much sleep.
We were met at the other end by Lilian from the Shanghai office of the company that organised John’s teaching position. We were expecting to get the train, but instead she put us on a coach (the train would have meant a change in Shanghai which might have been a bit complicated). We had it in mind that the train would only take 45 minutes, so weren’t really prepared for the 3 hour coach trip! But the coach was air conditioned and comfy and it was really exciting to see the views of China from the window.
Polly, the centre coordinator from John’s school, met us from the coach. We had a bit of trouble fitting our enormous suitcases into the taxi to the hotel. In the end, we had one on the back seat and the other in the open boot with half poking. Every time we went over a bump we thought we would lose half our worldly goods!
We checked into the hotel and John managed to have a shower, but Polly felt the hotel was a bit shabby (it was a bit rough around the edges, but would have been okay). She insisted in upgrading us to a better hotel. So, we packed up our bags and waited for Polly’s friend Alex to pick us up to take us there. We were feeling a bit fraught by now (we hadn’t eaten since the plane and it was now nearly 9pm). When we arrived at the hotel, the Grand Park Wuxi, we were glad we agreed to move. It is really smart and has a bath. We are staying on the 16th floor!
People tend to eat earlier in Wuxi, so restaurants were now closed, so Alex drove Polly and us to KFC (!) to get some tea. Not very Chinese, but we would have been happy with anything at this point.