Arrival in Shanghai, China
On the night of July 26, 2007, we arrived at Pudong International Airport (PVG) in Shanghai, China. Amazingly enough, with all the flights and segments of our world-hop, we made it on schedule, having had almost no delays, problems, or issues on the whole trip. Here is a map that shows the route that we took to get to China: Chicago - Dublin - London - Netherlands - Greece - Germany - Dubai - Thailand - Vietnam - and finally - Shanghai.
After five weeks of travel, we were so happy to finally arrive in our new 'home' to start the settling process. Given that we were coming from Southeast Asia, jetlag wasn't an issue. We were welcomed with a driver from Matt's company at the airport (no negotiating necessary!), who took us to the Grand Hyatt Shanghai, where we stayed for the first week or so while we secured an apartment. The Hyatt was a welcome oasis of ease and luxury, after over a month of varied cleanliness, hosptiality, and comfort. The hotel lobby is located on the 54th floor of the Jin Mao Building, what was until recently the tallest building in Shanghai (see the picture). Our room was on the 67th floor. It is located right downtown, a few minutes from Matt's office. It was a great start to our time here.
We have moved into an apartment, received part of our personal belongings (we had two shipments), and are actively engaged in everyday life here. Karen works as a Grade 1 teacher at the Yew Chung International School. The school campus is located essentially within our apartment complex; she has a 5 minute walking commute to and from work. School started on August 22nd and she is off and running in with her Chinese co-teacher, Sally. Matt started work on August 1st, shortly after our arrival. His Chinese colleagues have been welcoming and eager to learn how things work in other parts of ProLogis (in North America). The apartment community provides daily shuttle service that more or less takes Matt from our front door to within two blocks of his office, which is located in the Lu Jia Zui financial district in downtown Shanghai. His commute takes 30 to 45 minutes.
Soon, we'll both have Mandarin (Chinese) teachers, the rest of our stuff, and a million stories that we think are funny about our experiences here. So far, we are having a great time and are looking forward to what this year holds for us. We plan to try to keep this blog running with periodic updates to communicate with everyone. We have cell phones here and are trying to get the internet/computer systems figured out so that we will also have a Chicago number direct to our apartment - more on contact information to follow via e-mail. Our apartment is great - we have two bedrooms, a loft, a roof deck, and a nice clubhouse. So think about a visit! We'll do our best to stay in touch, but would love to hear from any of you, any time. Take care and we'll talk to you soon!