Athens-Doha-Shanghai-Hangzhou…

June 14, 2010

Flying to Shanghai



As always i manage to pack my things minutes before departure, even without books it’s fairly easy to stuff one big luggage (20kg limit) and a backpack, that’s my main supply for a year. Clothes, laptop and camera… Read my share of expat lists online were in between panic attacks and withdrawal symptoms people describe essential things to pack if you wanna survive in China, this can range from helpful to absolutely ridiculous, (a guy was flipping with the lack of croutons…westerners in denial). People tend to equate exposure to the unknown with exposure to Radiation.

You are not gonna mutate after a bowl of street food, so leave your stupid croutons and butter mix home. A couple of injections, some dental flush, shaving cream and the rest can be discovered in Hangzhou. Peak hour on the highway till the A1 that leads to the airport, a brief goodbye to the family (seeing them fading away in the terminal tends to become a weird habit, is life going to be like that from now on? transitions between airports?) and i am off to Doha. Flying with Qatar airways is a pleasant surprise, even the airplane food is actually edible, (can’t help making uneven comparisons with Ryanair). I look around trying to guess stories behind faces, the easiest subject is the traveller on my right seat, part of a group of 3-4 middle aged Greeks with sun dried faces, they reminded me of the Greek Port mafia in The Wired (season 2?). Spot on, they are mechanics on the way to ship inspection, land in Singapore and float to the North of China, we talk a little about Mao, port life, prostitution and the Greek family back in the homeland.

Arabic melodies from the speakers, the in flight tv plays a movie with Richard Gere (arabic subtitles), i increase the volume but something doesn’t seems right, i still can’t understand anything, after a few seconds i realize that they dubbed the movie in German!? quite funny, CLICK! Richard speaks German CLICK! Richard speaks English. (Arabic subtitles are a constant). German with Arabic and Greek gossip around Asian passengers on the way to Doha for a transit to Shanghai… Borders seem so vague from 30.000 feet.

[photo above from a magical moment were you could glimpse day and night at the same time depending on were you look…]

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