When all was said and done, our Grand China Adventure totalled out at:
28 bus rides
6 cities in China
6 hotel check-ins
5 automobile rides
2 rickshaw rides
2 bike rides
1 boat ride
Whew! Getting home on that final day was quite a process. We had a double connection (flying first to Shanghai, then LA, then home), but the first flight got cancelled, so we needed to fly to Shanghai a lot earlier than expected. We checked out of the Guilin hotel and boarded the bus for the airport at 9am China time (that will be important later).
The way to the Guilin airport was filled with now-familiar China sights -- lots of traffic and whole families on bikes, scooters, motorcycles, and in the backs of tiny motorized carts.
We also saw plenty of people cleaning right in the middle of busy roads and highways. Just as in the other cities, traffic would whiz within inches of them and no one would even flinch (well except me, I guess):
The airport had perfect seats for me at the end of this long trip, don’t you think? (except for the last part, of course):
We landed at the Shanghai domestic airport and needed to travel by van to the Shanghai international airport, which was two hours away. Well you know we had to convince the driver to take us on a little bonus tour on the way (for an extra cost). Couldn’t come all that way and not even peek at Shanghai.
We stopped at Yu Gardens, which was teeming with people. This was the most crowded place we’d seen in all of China, and that is saying a lot.
We took in some architecture, walked across the famous Nine Corners Bridge (along with about a thousand other people), then grabbed food at a local dim sum place.
Our lunchtime view was pretty extraordinary:
Then we stopped at the Shanghai Bund, an area along the Huangpu River that is one of the most-visited areas in Shanghai. That waterfront skyline is impressive.
We were kind of cooked at that point, so we headed for the airport. Inside the travelers' lounge Jane and I found the best seats in the house. These massage chairs were incredible. TubaDad might need to get one of these for the family room. Ahhhhhhh. (If they cost as much as a car, don’t tell me, I like to dream.):
We boarded the plane, had a meal, watched a movie, then it was lights out for the girls. We traded in TubaDad’s airmiles for business class upgrades again (that’s the one upside to having him gone on business trips all the time), and appreciated every minute. Ro and Ree slept for almost 8 hours and we woke them up 10 minutes before landing – Best Flight Ever!:
We finally made it after traveling almost 8000 miles by air that day (this pic is the flight from Shanghai to LA, just one short flight from home):
The girls had been talking about wearing their souvenir dresses to surprise Wela and BobBob and could not wait to put them on, so we dashed into the bathroom after landing and did a quick change:
Still skipping after a full day of travel:
My folks picked us up, we did the car shuffle, and hopped in the van. And 27 hours and 18 minutes after leaving the hotel in Guilin, we arrived at home sweet home.