Suzhou, China: Back To The Beginning...

Packing up my suitcase for what seemed like the fiftieth time I left my Pudong JinJiang Hotel behind me to start the beginning of my Meten English experience. After waiting for some time I met with a group of fellow new teachers, we all waited for the next move as some of them had just arrived from the U.S I was glad that I had flown in earlier that week. Yes!

Introductions aside it was time to get down to the real reason that we had come to China for, training for our government approved TEFL qualification would be the main aim for the week. Captured to the left is my Meten English center in Optics Valley, Wuhan but we didn't train there, I wanted it to be a apart of this blog to show that all Meten centers have a clean glass fronted feel, after all it was the end goal that was achieved after my initial Suzhou training. We reported to class before that peculiar Meten bell would chime for the 10am class, all of us were ready for the next dosage of the TEFL in China course. We learnt a lot that week and even presented our own demo class, for me I know I felt petrified but with more in-class training I had every faith that my teaching skills would continue to improve beyond training. It felt mad to be studying again because university was never about the books for me!

Discovering that the English language has so many different grammar focuses, I was like shut that front door because I was never going to take any of that business in! Planning our first demo lessons filled us full with trepidation, some teachers had been teaching for a little while so they had already found their style. I had to pinch myself that I was finally in China, not only that but I was training to be a English teacher because those endless interviews didn't impress me much! Meten English had proved from day one to be real, from the moment I viewed there website I had a strong feeling that company would be here to stay! Learning our lessons in the day we traded the classroom for a series of different Suzhou based restaurants, building up friends in such a short space of time allowed us to be real! Building up to our final exam at the end of the week we knew deep down that the party would still be waiting for us outside Family Mart on any given night! Family Mart is home!

Each group finds their own niche, I found a close group of crazy people who are now in other parts of China. As a collective we broke from class and reported to our hotel's lobby at an agreed time for dinner, making decisions about the smallest things can sometimes be magnified but the different parts of our group found their way. Dining at my first Chinese Muslim restaurant placed an emphasis that Chinese food has many depths, I was learning that eating with only chopsticks for the first time wasn't no walk in the park. Reconnecting with my American cousins it was great to meet some more super people from across the pond! Closer to home I found a friend in Samantha who was from Glasgow in Scotland, a true and genuine character that I clicked with from the get go! Never did I ever think a Puerto Rican beauty would be part of our TEFL group that week, Gloria you know I'll see you and the Texans in Chongqing City!

We were promised a cultural day during our week in Suzhou, for some of us would be leaving Suzhou for our respected cities to begin our teaching contracts. Suzhou, China is known as the 'Venice of Asia' with its extensive canal networks I was itching to see the historic parts of town because our hotel was located close to the booming glass-fronted business district. Sneaking out after dinner one night a few of us went to a bar along PingJang Road in the old town, little did I know that this would be the location for our cultural day. Braving the heat it was a lovely afternoon going about the cobbled streets of that historical Suzhou area. As hotels go by, ours was really nice, breakfast was a bit questionable at times but it was a Chinese hotel at the end of things. Getting further into the week the course grew more intense with the prospect of the final exam but we had this, too much stress never leads to anything good so we kept on studying and enjoying Suzhou! English is crazy!

Flashing back to the day of my demo class, I was one hot mess with nerves but I was excited at the same time! I had chose 'A Hero To Me' lesson because it featured that Chinese warrior princess, Mulan would be my good omen, I knew it! Serving my first thirty minute lesson I felt elated afterwards, I had completed it and thankfully went on to pass with enough credits. Later that night we hit another part of the old town, this time to a glittering and vibrant street for some great food, we were introduced to 'Baijiu' a seriously strong Chinese spirit that's made out of wheat. Moving from one bar we found a great corner store that served some seriously cheap drinks! Making our way back towards the hotel, some of the group retired to their beds but us lot went to where the true party was at, Family Mart! Yes, a standard convenience store steps away from the hotel gave us a place to congregate. Oh, SZ!

Getting our study game on we knew the final exam wouldn't be too bad but we wanted to be prepared. Building up to the big day there was some nerves in the camp but we were right at the beginning of a new experience so we were all still in a euphoric mind set, well I was so please! I never anticipated that my training week in Suzhou was going to be so eventful, from the classroom to the street we were learning each day. Knuckling down to those test papers we tried our damn best to hit the pass mark, some of us would be moving on the next day so whatever happened we wanted to do our best then celebrate! Pre-packing the night before my departure to Wuhan I knew it would be an eventful night ahead of us, playing our final game of 'King's Cup' we all knew that our first week in Suzhou had been more than alright! From our first meeting at Pudong Airport to toasting that final drink at the hotel I know that we'll cause some more mayhem in China! I'll be back Suz!

Where's My Baijiu Gone?!

Joseph Harrison 

Next Stop... Optics Valley, China!

San Francisco, USA has the Silicon Valley but Wuhan, China has the Optics Valley because seeing is believing. Shopping isn't a favourite pastime of mine but its difficult not to endorse the mega malls of Guanggu, this Wuhan town has two names! Teaching English is my trade, the Optics Valley will serve me well. Call it whatever you want, two names are better than one!

Once a parkland in the round, Optics Valley 'Guanggu' Square looks more like an epic construction site. I first saw this crazy building site in early July of 2015 on my way to Meten English's Guanngu centre, it looked a lot different compared to what I had previously saw on the internet! Home to the Optics Valley Tower, this constantly changing part of the Valley is the headquarters of the East Lake New Technology Development Zone, well that's what I've heard? My apartment block overlooks the image to the left, from the fourteenth floor the level of crazy doesn't look so chaotic. When the sunsets this centre of traffic becomes a see of lights with the never-ending flow of road traffic. It's all the doing of the latest extension of the Wuhan Metro, seeing Line 2 extended from its current Optics Valley Square Station for a new section to be constructed. Yes, I'm in favour of Guanngu's next chapter! Go OPV!

Getting my life I chose to work in Wuhan out of three possible cities throughout China, sorry about that Chongqing and Foshan! It's like the Optics Valley Square never sleeps, if I can't sleep I walk down to the end of the corridor to see how those electric lights shine during the twilight hour. Shopping and business work hand in hand, mixed with busy commuters who descend upon the square to the platforms of the Wuhan Metro. I don't miss making the commute to the other centre in Hankou because some people don't know how to act on public transport. KTV's and department stores make up the Guanngu Circle as well as countless business corporations, I know that the Optics Valley of China works for each Yuan! Apparently, there was a park in the centre of the Optics Valley Square just two weeks before I had arrived in town. Let's bring back the green to Guanggu! That wasn't a question! The Optics Valley of China feels like home, you know that I made a wise choice G! 

Meten English took a chance on me, I've been teaching at their Wuhan Guanngu Centre since mid July 2015. I work with a friendly and professional team of foreign and local teachers, we all have one aim to teach English to the students of this Meten English centre in Wuhan, China. Conveniently located close to my apartment block I have the luxury of being close to the office, every little helps. I've been humbled by the friendliest of the students, as soon as they knew I was from England they relished in asking me endless questions about my former UK home. Before working at Meten English in Wuhan, China I was never aware of my accent but that slight Bilston tone has followed me to China for sure! I'm enjoying my day to day tasks and with each lesson I have a feeling that my time at Meten English will be unforgettable for the right reasons. English never sounded so good before! Team Guanggu!

Never before has my hometown of Bilston been referred to as 'beautiful' but we all have different minds in the end. Being part of the Meten English Guanggu team leaves me with nothing but positive things to say about my center, its true that Guanggu Meteners teach it better! As each day brings a new challenge I seek the opportunity to teach my native language in a creative and enthusiastic fashion because learning should be fun! Compared to other work that I have done, I like the style of Meten English and how the company operates in its shiny glass fronted classrooms. From the moment I met with my fellow new teachers at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on the 23rd of June 2015 I knew I was beginning a whole new journey with Meten English in China. With its optical technology I know that teaching at a Meten English Centre in the Optics Valley of China works for me just right! I'll keep on learning my grammar and endorsing my hometown of Bilston evermore M!

I'm not one for shopping but since living in Optics Valley, Wuhan I've been converted to the ways of the super shopping centres of Guanggu. Spending one day off to get to know my stomping ground I went to one of World City's many cinemas to see 'The Imitation Game' that features Benedict Cumberbatch, that film schooled me about the hero that was Alan Turing. Getting my cinema ticket was an experience in itself but all finished well with that respected film choice. When I'm craving a McDonald's meal I only have to walk a few steps from my apartment block to the lower level of World City for a fast food treat. Captured alongside the bright lights of World City is my apartment block, boasting a direct link with that supersize shopping centre I can take the lift from the fourteenth floor then directly walk a few steps into World City. My apartment overlooks the main circle because it's all about the location!

Possessing an air of European sophistication this Optical centred Valley town has five different themed streets, can you guess what they are called? Spanish, German, French, Italian and Modern streets have different flavours and bring something unique to this central part of Guanggu. Spanish Style street has its own full scale square with a cathedral to write home about. Housing more retail businesses this corner of Wuhan gives its residents the chance to shop until they truly drop! After going to KTV the other night I was introduced to a interesting German themed bar that served me a ice cold pint of Carlsberg for a good price, I will be back for another drink soon! The Wuhanese people know how to eat, the local dish has to be 'Hot Dry Noodles' its a quick option for every meal of the day. Soup Dumplings have replaced my cornflakes and toast but I'm ok with that! Optics Valley, otherwise known as Guanggu has showed me a crazy and upcoming part of Wuhan! It's home!

Give It Up For Guanggu! 

Joseph Harrison 

Shanghai Surprise!

Burning up like neon lights the mega-city of Shanghai, China took me for one hell of a ride during my visit! Serving an almighty culture shock I took every moment as one crazy experience during that weekend. Introducing me to China life this Chinese city presented a serious serving of electric love from the Bund. You know that I was looking for a Shanghai Surprise!

As my taxi drove closer to Shanghai's city centre it didn't feel real that I had arrived in China, it was finally happening! It was a hazy night but there was no mistaking the surge of development that this gargantuan city had already seen but a series of building sites passed me by. I had no clue where I was going but I knew what the road name was called that my hostel was supposed to be, my driver didn't speak a shred of English and my level of Chinese was appalling so it wasn't hopeful. After a crazy series of events I made it to my hostel, I needn't of worried about getting lost because I had found a corker! Let's just say I was in for the experience of a lifetime, I was in the city of a million lights so any mishap had to step to one side because it was my time! Leading to a messed up sleep pattern I woke at 6pm that evening, getting my jet lagged self looking decent I left my hostel for the streets of Shanghai B!

Navigating the side streets from my hostel that was close to People's Square was confusing, I was hungry so sustenance had to be found! Getting acquainted with a unassuming looking noodle cafe I was sold, being the only foreigner in sight I could tell that the food would be a wise choice. My first meal in China ended up being a beef noodle bowl that was garnished with some leafy vegetable, I wolfed the noodles down without a thought for I only spent £1.50 or something crazy?! Nanjing Road stopped me in my tracks, a rich display of neon signs faced me. Knowing how to act I made my way through the crazy of that mega shopping street, I was slightly bewildered by the madness but knew it felt real to me! I saw Marks & Spencer's from the corner of my eye but I was all about the Chinese symbols that were shining in so many different colours. From my midnight madness and lack of sleep I tried my best to take in the sights, were those women dancing to techno in the street?! Oh, yes!

Nanjing Road led me to one of the main reasons why I decided to spend a few days in Shanghai before training in Suzhou. Famous for its towering skyscrapers I was transfixed by the light display on the Bund, getting to the front of the crowd to take the perfect photo took some going but I always get what I want! The Oriental Pearl TV Tower looked even better in real life, Shanghai knew that I had arrived in town! It was one of those moments when you've got to stop everything for at least two minutes, thank goodness my camera didn't fall into the water because I was to engrossed with the view! I was learning fast that Shanghai is a city for the night-time with its electric love and neon scene I was sold! Everything was so cheap, a bottle of ice tea could be bought on the Bund for literally pennies. Shanghai was surprising beyond any means, this dazzling city made New York City look sleepy! NYC, take a nap boo!  

Turning my head away from the waters of the Huangpu River I saw a string of regal looking buildings line that Shanghai riverside, resembling the grand port buildings of Liverpool's Mersey front I was sort of taken back to Liverpool for a brief second. Missing my chance for a Bubble Tea from Happy Lemon in London I wasted no time by getting one during that Shanghai night! Nanjing Road and the Bund had showed me enough for one night so I went back to my hostel, well once I found it! Family Mart became my best friend, I never knew how that place would be such a big part of my first two weeks in China. Getting to grips with the streets of Shanghai wasn't bad, revisiting the same street when the darkness of the night faded I automatically knew where I'd previously been. Shanghai threw shade on me in other departments but those factors really didn't matter, it added to the major culture shock I was being exposed to. Shanghai's nonstop persona had me crazy! 

Away from the twilight and hoards of people I spent some time in Shanghai being half responsible, I hadn't come to China for a jolly so I needed to sort a few things out closer to my hostel. I needed a Chinese mobile sorting, the one my mum had given me did not want to work in China and I was half worried about the roaming charges that could be incurred. China Mobile secured me a new phone for £70, including two months of data. The area around my hostel embodied a normal Shanghainese neighbourhood vibe, no bright lights needed to shine around those parts because it served normality. Finding another super cheap noodle shop I continued my cost conscious crusade in Shanghai, China. Going off the beaten track I found a shopping district of a different kind, fashioned in a traditional Chinese style I could of been in a film. Seeking refuge from the rain I chilled with some hot Oolong Tea. 

Shanghai was teaching me that when the heavens open in China, the rain just keeps on pouring until its good an ready to stop! After revisiting Family Mart for the umpteenth time I found a street side cake stall, that was selling all manner of cakes and bakes I bought a Durian fruit cake and some other strange Chinese sweet treats. My final afternoon and evening in Shanghai panned out really nicely, taking it easy I stayed at my hostel with a few beers from Family Mart. As my time in good old Shanghai drew to a close I decided to ditch the hostel for a budget business hotel that was one stop on the metro away from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, I would be meeting with my prospective English teaching company so I wanted to recharge my batteries before getting to Suzhou for training. Shanghai had shown me something different, I had never before been to a place so berserk or captivating before! You haven't seen the last of me Shanghai! Another surprise, please?

Marry The Night!

Joseph Harrison 

London Markets... A Street Sensation!

It's market day in London any day of the week, here's three markets in the capital that grab my attention! From Shadwell's Watney Market to the great Camden Market, we've got to be savvy in this skyrocketing city and live well at the same time. Leave out the ripe strawberries or anything else those ladies from Oliver sold, I'll see Columbia Road Flower Market for sure! 

Deep within an emerging part of the East End of London is Shadwell's Watney Market, a small yet functional fair of fruit, household items and a sense of Islamic life. Meeting this East London market for the first time in December 2014 by pure coincidence I snapped away like a paparazzo, something that normal passersby couldn't really understand. Knowing that Eastenders isn't real I was pleasantly surprised to see a living East End market was good enough to see. Located just off the Commercial Road from one end to Shadwell's DLR and Overground stations, there's always a better connection to access the Realness of Shadwell's Watney Market. Times have been hard for Watney Market but its no secret that London's East End is ever-changing but after delving into the archives its clear to see that Watney Market keeps on trading! Yes E1, some of store owners were serving items of Halal fashion sense! 

London has a long and vibrant history when it concerns its many markets, predominantly centred around the East End its been a way of life for the costermongers, enterprising from the day dot its changing now but the history will hopefully remain? I really do hope so! Along with Shadwell's Watney Market there's also Pettitcoat Lane Market and the trendier Old Spitalfields Market its difficult to say in what motion these London markets are going to go in the future? I have a feeling that London's had tougher knocks before so the now smaller markets of London's East End still create an impression and serve their communities. I saw certain items of Islamic fashion being sold during my time at Shadwell's Watney Market, a sure sign of the demographic from the local area. Like I mentioned before the best thing I liked about Watney Market was that it served a sense of Walford's fictional East End market in a loose sense because Shadwell's got the real thing! Roll up E1!

Camden Town is supposedly where some of the cool kids hangout? For this one I'll keep an open mind because Camden Town serves something different for me! Yes, Camden Town's Roundhouse might bring the beat but I'm on about Camden Town Market! Set close to Camden Lock the market offers a whole range of alternative fashion and a lot more. I have been to Camden around three times but I only browse because I don't like spending my pennies at all! Leaving the clothes behind us for a short interval its always great to take a seat on a moped style seat to eat some international street food and take in the views of Camden Town along the Grand Union Canal. I stayed away from the 'Bang Bang Chicken' because I just didn't trust it but I embraced other international foods alongside Camden Lock. Camden Lock looked just fine me but the first visit was definitely the best! Camden Town sure interests me much!

Camden Town has a bohemian feel about it, well I thought that the three times I took the time to visit! Intertwined with a hint of 'hipster' there's a cool notion around the centre of the action. Back to the market, keeping calm and getting on with proceedings I bought a alternative print t-shirt from one of the huts by the many international food concessions. That side of London brings back memories from my February 2012 visit, re-grouping with some friends who I used to be members of a drama club, we had a great time even though the cold bit our faces. Originally warehouses, the area that now makes up Camden Town Market was almost crafted into a motorway but someone saw sense to make the market official around 1976. London does it again, representing as a market city with a town feeling for Camden Town and Lock both contribute a canal-side experience with a twist! So, looking back Shadwell's Watney Market serves Halal Couture Realness! A floral tone next L?!

Bring me flowers in the pouring rain! No, that wasn't meant to be a question! Bethnal Green's Columbia Road Flower Market fully blooms each Sunday, showcasing a gargantuan range of beautifully coloured flowers for those who embrace a flower power vibe. Dating back to 1869 when flowers weren't the main attraction, no it was all about food and lots of it. Located between Bethnal Green and Hackney this fragrant market street also has many niche shops that looked right up my street during my June 2015 visit. I had firstly discovered the Columbia Road Flower Market during a detour from Bethnal Green's high street, I saw a closed and quiet Victorian street that didn't fit in with the look of the surrounding council flats. Missing the boat because it wasn't Sunday, also the post Christmas weather left me with a lack of vibrancy, so a summer visit had to be planned so I could finally be part of this E2 floral show B!

A certain buzz could be felt around the streets that surrounded Columbia Road the day I visited this flower infused market, I sensed that this market was a hit with tourists and locals alike. I could not believe the sheer amount of people that were attempting to take a glance at one of the many bright and sweet smelling flower stalls. Comparing that crazy situation with the stillness of my previous visit it was made because people really didn't know how to act over a bunch of flowers! Skipping breakfast I was hungry, finding Cakehole for a pot of tea and a deliciously rich slice of Chocolate Orange cake. Located within a cute antique shop that fitted the feeling of that backroom cake cafe. Having my cake and eating it too rounded off my Columbia Road Flower Market time, I'll bring you flowers in the pouring rain? Getting a grip of the three London markets that I've been to I don't have a favourite because each one showed me a different flavour entirely. Oh, who said Costermongers?!

Embrace London's Markets!

Joseph Harrison 

Flying High... Sri Lankan Airlines!

Long-haul flights can be a bore for some, but I look forward to each part of a lengthy flight. Embarking on a new part of my life I was about to fly from one side of the world from London, England to Shanghai, China with a short layover in a place called Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan Airlines had me flying high, from one continent to the next I was ready for take-off Sri! 

Long-haul travel had left me since I touched down from Newark with Virgin Atlantic Airways into London Heathrow in January 2013 so I was itching for those cabin doors to be secured! I had accepted a teaching opportunity with Meten English in China, getting my ticket booked I wanted to fly directly from mother England to the Middle Kingdom of China but those nonstop flights were getting rather pricey. Getting that Sri Lankan Airlines flight booked was a relief but I wasn't prepared for the craziness that my seventeen hour journey would show me! With my bags packed and that Chinese visa in my passport I was all ready to check my luggage in at London Heathrow's Terminal 3, scared yet excited I had been waiting for that day of departure for long enough! Note to self, the London Underground can be an unforgiving place when a large suitcase is in your possession! Yes, I had checked for my passport too many times! 

I used to be a Passenger Services Agent so checking in for a flight tends to be an interesting experience, I sometimes want to be on the other side of the check-in counter but that's for another time completely. I was ushered over to the Business Class check-in desk for Sri Lankan because I was travelling independently so that saved time for the flight was busy with numerous large families who had small children with them. I already knew that my connection in Colombo, Sri Lanka would be under two hours but that was thrown up into the air with the announcement that the flight would be arriving behind schedule from Sri Lanka. Yes, I had previous experience of travelling long-haul before that day but it had been awhile so some nerves did surface. With my boarding pass in my possession it was time to say goodbye to my parents, as goodbyes go by it wasn't tearful because I had to be on my game! With a possible delay and scrambled layover I headed for a Gin & Tonic!

Boarding wasn't hurried along at all but the inbound Sri Lankan Airlines jet was being prepared with much gusto, I was more than ready to be on my way! Departing one hour later than scheduled I was relieved to feel my Airbus aircraft take me closer to the clouds, it was going to be hectic in about ten hours so I just wanted the flight to be comfortable and quiet. Make mine a large one please, soon after take-off the traditionally dressed Sri Lankan cabin crew passed through the cabin with a warm flannel and our first refreshment of that long flight down to Colombo. Comfy as permitted whilst sitting in my Economy Class window seat, it finally sunk that I was going to start a new chapter of my life in China but that was slightly overshadowed by the pandemonium of boarding my Sri Lankan flight at Heathrow. Judging by the dimmed cabin lighting it was like that for eighty percent of the flight, no I didn't sleep!

As in-flight entertainment goes I was impressed with Sri Lankan's Economy package as their were some Chinese films to watch as my flight soared across Eastern Europe on its way to Ceylon. Saying that I spent the next day on two Sri Lankan Airlines flights so by the time my aircraft touched down at Shanghai Pudong the choice of entertainment was limited. I switched between 'The Big Bang Theory' and segments of 'Meet Me In St. Louis' so I was well entertained on the first leg anyway. Why did I choose Sri Lankan Airlines in the first place? The price of a one way flight through Colombo worked out much cheaper than flying direct to Shanghai, China but the experience did count for something in the end. London and home seemed like a distant memory as I made my way closer to China, I was distracted by the red wine and Chinese films provided to me by Sri Lankan Airlines. I was able to stretch out on the second flight for that cabin wasn't very busy at all. Go!

Getting my blog on I made my up to the front Economy Class galley for a photo with one or two of the beautiful Sri Lankan Airlines cabin crew. Firstly, I had a polite chat with the lady on my left hand side and when her colleague on the right of me returned I managed to get a snap. The two crew members that I spoke to were so friendly and didn't mind to have a chat with me when I mentioned my previous Virgin Atlantic Airways job. I was like 'will I make my connection to Shanghai?' The crew member in the dark blue reassured me that with Colombo Airport being small they usually hold the flight for as long as possible, so she stressed that I had nothing to worry about. I might look like I've just got out of bed in this photo but its difficult to look on-fleek when travelling in Economy Class on a ten hour flight! So, back in my seat I tried to catch some sleep but my brain was on overdrive with the move I only napped. 

Touching down at Colombo Airport felt like a race to the finish line, several other flights were being held because of our late arrival from London Heathrow. I had no choice but to politely shove my way to the nearest exit that being used for the disembarkation process, I was sorry not sorry because I had one very important connection that I didn't want to miss! A small airport Colombo thankfully was I raced to the security check-point, by that time I was probably looking like the hottest mess that the airport had ever seen before! Giving some of my British coins to the security officer because I didn't have enough time to put them in my pocket but he appreciated that offering nonetheless. Recognising one passenger from the Heathrow flight we agreed about the craziness of the transfer between flights. I must of been waiting less than five minutes before I boarded the Shanghai flight. It was a light flight so I got comfy, I was quite exhausted but so glad to be on the way to China!

Departing from London Heathrow at 22:00, dinner could of been a midnight snack by the time the crew started to serve dinner on the first of my two Sri Lankan Airlines flights. I went for the meat option, I believe it was some kind of chicken curry that tasted exceptionally good for Economy Class airplane food, I must of been hungry because I even ate the salad! After desert it was time for a cup of Ceylon tea, oh I loved that Sri Lankan brew! Drinks were served twice by the crew but requests could be made to the cabin crew but most of the passengers slept the majority of the long flight. I had about three glasses of red wine so I was conservative to say the least, I know not to over-indulge when flying because alcohol isn't the best when flying at 40,000 ft! En-route to Shanghai I tried the sweet and sour chicken, if truth be told I wasn't very hungry and the previous flight was taking its toll on me. I wanted China!

Arriving thirty minutes before our scheduled time of arrival we touched down at Pudong International Airport. Thankfully making it to China in one piece thanks to Sri Lankan Airlines, when thinking about the late departure from London and the hurried transfer it did feel good to land early into Shanghai! After all the hospitality I was ready to disembark and attempt to make my way through immigration, that part was a breeze and my luggage had made the connection even though it looked like my case was thrown from one aircraft to the other. I had eaten well and was made to feel comfortable throughout my long flights from England to China. The cabin crew were great on both flights but shone especially on the first flight over from Heathrow. The delay may have added some stress to my epic journey but that didn't matter when I saw the Chinese signs as I made my way to immigration and baggage claim at Pudong Airport. OK, Sri Lankan Airlines surprised me for certain!

More Ceylon Tea, Please?

Joseph Harrison
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