The China Adventure (or Pandemic Travels) #3

Getting to China & Quarantine Day 1

Today is Tuesday, February 2 here in Shanghai, China. It gets confusing when you are on a plane for 15 hours and cross the international date line and are on the other side of the world from where you started. I started in SFO on January 31. Yesterday was a long day

The day started at about 6AM PST. Load the car, check out of the hotel and make my way over to the airport. All things considered, I left pretty early, but having wiggle room is not a bad thing (and turned out good later).

Checking in for the flight was easy. Showed my green health code and some other QR codes and was on my way. At least this time I had pre-paid the overweight bag fees, so all I had to do was get the bags tagged. Security was fast, no line. Of course I was figuring that I would grab some breakfast once I got in to the terminal, however nothing was really open in the international terminal. I ended up hiking around two terminals to finally find a place serving breakfast. I mean, there was plenty of coffee available, but I really wanted something with a little more substance than a muffin or croissant. So, having the wiggle room was nice.

The flight over to China was another very empty flight. While I didn’t get an exit row, I did get an entire row of Premium Plus to myself. Good to be able to spread out a bit. I basically read for most of the flight and slept for the rest. Didn’t watch any movies/TV.

The flight had one stop in Seoul, South Korea for a crew change, and then onward to Shanghai.

Once on the ground in Shanghai, the Chinese CDC officials had the passengers debark by groups of rows. Mostly I think this was to maintain some social distancing and not completely overwhelm the workers on the ground.

Immediately after getting off the plane we went through temperature screening and then had our Health Declarations checked. From there we were directed to see an agent to sign a consent for for COVID testing. Next we continued on to the actual COVID testing. For the second time in less than a week I got the underside of my brain scratched via my nostrils. Actually, this time was less uncomfortable than the testing in SFO.

Next up, Customs. This was pretty straight forward and typical. Check passport and visa, answer the usual questions: “Why are you here? Where are you staying?”

Finally, pick up bags and head out to get on the shuttle to the quarantine hotel. This required filling out an online form, which was all in Chinese, but the agents along the way were happy to help. Copious use of google translate on both sides. Get on the shuttle, arrive at the quarantine hotel. Fill out more forms all in Chinese. Get sent to room.

Of course, The saga doesn’t end there. As I am starting to get settled in the room, the ceiling decides to spring a leak. I had water coming out of a light fixture and dripping all over the desk in the room. Fortunately I hadn’t put out any of my computer equipment yet. So, I send a WeChat message to the front desk, who asks me to send some pictures and video, then has to get one of the CDC agents to come and move me to a different room. At least I hadn’t really unpacked much yet.

Finally in a new, dry room, I was able to unpack, decompress a little, and get some sleep. Somehow, with all that happened in the last 48 hours, I seem to have aligned my schedule to the local time. I mean, we shall see if the jet-lag catches up.

Now, I guess I figure out what work there is that I can do while stuck in a hotel room, do some reading, catch up on some shows, and maybe actually have this push-up competition with my mother (I mean I have to do something other than sit around).

More to come.






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