Sunday, July 26, 2009

Darkness Falls On Shanghai

I'm back and what an experience visiting China has been. Initially I decided to go because of the Solar eclipse, it didn't take long before I was forgetting what the main focus was as well as what it was slowly becoming, a sensory delight.

Touching the Great Wall Of China, smelling incense in the Jade Buddha Temple, walking in the Forbidden City seeing up close and personal the Terra -Cotta Warriors and hearing the chatter of a thousand voices in Tiananmen Square on a Saturday. I took the above image while our tour driver was taking a shortcut down the back-roads where the common people live, shot through the window, says a lot, a part of China we never toured but through the lens I was able to capture a moment in time.


Coming into China is an eyeopener. Right off the plane you follow signs that have arrows and say baggage, they basically just guide you to numerous checkpoints where you will be asked a series of questions and asked to show your passport, oh, and walk through a temperature sensor. Not once but twice the person right in front of me was whisked away to a waiting tent and to what looked like health officials, probably checking for signs of the H1N1 virus. She was with a group of teenagers, they reassured her they would wait, I never saw the group from then on.

There are numerous guards that line "baggage lane",(as I like to call it). they're just off to the side, and everyone is wearing protective masks, very intimidating to say the least. At the final checkpoint, there was a yellow line where you had to stop before you proceeded through to be asked the same questions and once again show your passport and go through another temperature sensor, I guess I was a little over the yellow line and a security/police/army type scary guy with a mask rushes in and shouts something in Chinese and pushes me back.......well I didn't know whether to shit, salute, or go into shock, come to think of it I probably did a little of each, now don't forget I had just come off an eleven hour fight from Vancouver, I wasn't a happy camper or feeling 100%, couple that with the fact that I was one of the lucky ones to be selected for a pat down at the Vancouver International Airport Security Check-In , and I mean pat down, hands down the back and front of my pants, told to assume the position and checked again, at least he thanked me for my cooperation.

After the final checkpoint you see another baggage sign with an arrow pointing to an escalator, you take this down, not to your waiting baggage but to a train station where you wait for a train that will take you to another building to finally get your baggage, congrats you pass and don't go to quarantine.


Then there is the matter of blocked social networking sites, stuff we take for granted like blogger and twitter. Another reminder that Bob wasn't in Kansas anymore. Of course this story has a happy ending , I made it home alive and well, the planes didn't crash and burn, I no longer have a fear of flying and I had a most excellent adventure. I even got lost in Shanghai while traveling down some back roads, finally got my bearings and made it back to the hotel.... again adding to the adventure.


I have lots of stories waiting to be told. I took over 1,200 images and 6 hours of video, but for now I will leave you with a video I took of the blackness that fell on Shanghai during the Total Solar Eclipse, we didn't get to see actual totality but we did experience the premature night fall which was quite the experience in itself.


video

52 comments:

Marvin the Martian said...

And then everyone noticed it was just a huge smog cloud. ;-)))

Glad you are doing well, Bob.

betchai said...

welcome back, glad your trip made you discover you no longer have fear of flying, looking forward to more of your trip posts.

Astro-nuts said...

Glad to have you back, although I was kind of enjoying being Bob for a few days. Anyway, looking forward to more pics, etc.

AngelBaby said...

Welcome Back!!! I missed you allot my dear friend. I just stopped by to say hello, I have to get back to my party! hahaha!

Love and Blessings,
AngelBaby

TatianaV said...

So glad you made it home happy and fulfilled Bob, & healthy as well! And it must have been quite the adventure :) And I'll be reading everything you have to share, photos, and videos and stories - grat stuff my friend!

Drowsey Monkey said...

Wow - looks like I returned to the blogosphere just in time for some great stories!

Sorry your short time in Canada was so unfriendly ... or overly friendly depending on how you want to categorize the pat down!

kml said...

Wow - sounds like you had a great time despite all of the "official" stuff to get into the country. Can't wait to hear about all the adventures!

Welcome back home - you were missed!

Stephanie B said...

Oh, Bob, I'm so happy for you, proud of you, tickled for you. It was a great video and I'm so glad you had a great time, but I'm glad you're back, too.

You were missed.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol Marvin, actually didn't notice much smog, mostly due to the fact there is so much humidity in the air, can't tell the difference,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks betchai, me too, it was a hassle being afraid of flying, i'm probably going to have to take more work related trips in the coming future, so happy about it now.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol Colin, always nice to pretend to be someone else for a change, thanks for doing it for me!\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol AngelBaby, yep Happy Birthday again and have fun at your party,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks for dropping by Tatiana,it was super great fun there, except for the airports, hate to go through security all the time, sucked,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol Drowsey, it wasn't friendly,lol, everybody was watching another man put his hands down my pants, felt just a little awkward,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Kathy, feels good to be back, I took a lot of things for granted before I left, not anymore.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks a lot Stephanie, I felt cut off from people there, great place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there, good to be back.\m/\m/

kRiZ cPEc said...

I will wait for your next post, I promise. Oh, I (don't) mean what I just said. Learnt from those who promised to wait but then moved on on their own. LOL.

Cashmere said...

Hi Bob! I didn't know you made your first passport just to travel to Shanghai to watch the eclipse.. ;)

It's a pity the sky was clouded and blocked the sun.. Couldn't see the sun through your video but I saw the pics you took.. It was awesome.. Even though, you didn't get to see the whole thing, I'm sure the experience was good enough for you..

I'm so envious of you.. Never seen or experienced one before. lol!

Swubird said...

Bob:

What an incredible post. Really interesting. It sounds like you experienced a real eye opener. China. Old, but scary.

Too bad about the eclipse. All that way and then to find darkness. Oh well, it was still a great adventure that you'll remember the rest of your life.

Well done as always. Loved the pictures and the video.

Happy trails.

Dr. Lauren said...

That's so bizarre that that take your temperature before you enter. I guess it's a precaution.

Ivanhoe said...

Welcome home, Bob! I'm glad you made it home in one piece. Sounds like your trip was fantastic. I cannot wait for more pics and stories.

Bob Johnson said...

Lol and thanks kRiZ cPEc.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Cashmere, yes it was my very first passport, got it just to view the eclipse, too bad we didn't get a total but when all is said and done a partial was good enough, could have been worse.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks swubird, for sure it was an experience of a lifetime even though we didn't get the total, my go out to WA US again in 2017 it is a lot closer.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hi Dr. Lauren, so far it has worked for them, no deaths caused by the virus on mainland China so far.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Ivanhoe, even though I had a great time it's still good to be back home.\m/\m/

John Maslowski said...

Welcome back Bob. Definitely a trip of a lifetime. Would love to see and photograph China. Must have been quite an experience. Look forward to more great shots.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks John, you'd like it over there, lots of photo ops.\m/\m/

Anna said...

Hey Bob you really made me laugh, especially about the story of you crossing the yellow line, lol.

It's amazing what long flights can do to you? I was the same, but after going from plane to plane, it was like hoping on the bus. So you think you are going to travel some more in the future?

Excellent first image, and thanks for sharing your video.

I guess we will be hearing more of your stories...

Glad you are back, get some rest because sooner or later you will be feeling really exhausted, now its all excitement.

Anna :)

Peter said...

Hi! I'm green with envy! Although you sounded a bit jaded on your arrival and going on what you had to go though to get out of the airport it could have been much worse. They could have strip searched you and taken your rectal temperature!

Take Care,
Peter

Final_transit said...

Hey Bob!!
Welcome back, I'm really really really curious and eager to read about your stories from China. :)
Sorry to hear about the clouds, but like you said, the overall experience was good. :)

Anne Vis said...

Glad to hear you had such a wonderful time in China! And what a great new adventure with your own telescope! :-)

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Anna, I like your new avatar. Yes no problem with flying now, after you get used to it you just want to get to where you are going as fast as possible. Thanks for noticing the first image, it is one of my favorites , just something about it.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol Peter, that would be worse for sure, hey the solar eclipse is coming to your neck of the woods in a couple years, who knows, maybe I will be too.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Priyank, still have a few stories to tell yet, now I see what you see in traveling.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Anne, yes an unforgettable adventure, and to keep remembering I took lots of pics and movies.\m/\m/

Texas Travelers said...

Great trip.
Thanks for sharing the great photos and stories.

Come visit...
Troy and Martha
To see Big Sky & Buffalo Country, Click here.
Troy and Martha

Back in the blog groove again...
Trying to catch up with everyone.

Susanne49 said...

I'm glad you are back and you had a good time in China. Your photos are very nice and informative. Looking forward to more of them, after you tried out enough your new Gallilleoscope of course :)

Thank you so much for your kind recent comment on my blog.
Susanne

Sue's Daily Photography

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Troy, great to see you and Martha back again.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Susanne, had a great time and lots of happenings to tell of.\m/\m/

sexy legs and body said...

Totally awesome Bob, loved that! Glad you had a safe trip. looking forward to pics with your new scope!
Colin

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Bob, what a MAGNIFICENT post!!! Beautiful photos and great travel story telling. Sorry you had that pat down experience and had a shove from the line. Yikes!

This adventure would make an awesome book. Can't wait to hear more.

I heard on the radio two days ago a group of teenage tourists were being held in China because of the virus. I wonder if this was them? I think four tested positive at that time. I was wondering if they would miss the opening of school and still be in China at that time.

Have a super day!!!
Hugs, JJ

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Colin, had a great time lots of pics to show.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks JJ, I saw the group on BBC tv I think it was the same one as it was on the BBC a couple days after, they were taken to the Beijing Hospital.\m/\m/

Aura said...

Wow! Very cool Bob- :) all the best

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Aura, thanks a lot.\m/\m/

Ruth said...

Wow, wow and wow.

Yay,no more fear of flying! For an outer space guy, that is definitely a plus.

I am amazed at all the hoops you had to go through, it must have been aggravating at times. So glad you're back, and I look forward to the posting of all adventures.

I'll soon post about ours too. Not quite the same, but momentous in its own way. :)

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Ruth, had a super time and I no longer am afraid of flying, just the Chinese security, yikes,lol.\m/\m/

Bikran said...

wow that was amazing .. you had quite an experience.looking forward to hearing more of your stories ..

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks a lot for dropping by Bikran.\m/\m/

L. Venkata Subramaniam said...

very nice post...reminds me of my own trip there....very well written.

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