Following 22 hours of travel I have finally arrived in China. A 2am start on Wednesday morning, a two hour drive to the airport, followed by a short flight to Sydney (where I was told off by the flight attendant for talking during safety demonstrations), saw the team boarding China Eastern to make the 11hour flight to Shanghai. With poor food and no individual televisions we were left reading the sub-titles of obscure Chinese movies. Luckily, I had scored a row of seats to myself and took the opportunity to sleep for four hours before waking to some very average pork and rice, very very average! After landing we endured a one hour bus ride to the ferry, which looked incapable of making the hour journey to Chongming Island. We were seated in a room we titled the ‘mafia room’, with black leather chairs, velvet curtains and three mysterious men who failed to speak English.
After staying hydrated on the plane the first stop for us was downstairs to the female toilets. We could understand why the waterway we were travelling had been named the most polluted in the world when finding that the female toilets were actually urinals that led to the river beneath! Back upstairs saw us presented with some form of green tea. It looked quite similar to a few dirty leaves in the bottom of a plastic cup. Then the corn arrived, transparent and tasting like sticky rubbery rice. Despite the lower class passengers, missing teeth, staring provocatively at us through windows, we managed to arrive safely. Our luggage however was sitting in a bus stuck behind a broken down truck on the ferry! So we walked in Chinese style down the centre of the road to our accommodation where a small dinner had been prepared. Somehow I have the feeling we'll be living off white rice for the week to come.