Sunday, September 11, 2011

Manchuria Road Trip Part 01

Shanghai's Pudong Airport
The timing was really tight as I've obtained my China Visa only days before my trip to Harbin, China.
It was a mad rush to submit the paperwork as China is very strict in allowing journalists into their country.
For this, I blew a hole in my pocket for a 'rush' Visa and its 'service' fees.
And before I knew it, I was onboard flight MH388 to Pudong airport in Shanghai, China.
It takes about five hours to get there from the KLIA and as soon as I alighted from the plane, it was another mad scramble to the domestic departure terminal on the same building.
Thankfully, it had free internet connection where I utilised my waiting time to get in touch with my wife back in KL.
Pudong airport is huge and at the same time, stuffy.
Foodstuff is very expensive here and I was lucky for the fact that I had a piece of snack on my Ortlieb hip pouch.
This kept me going for another few hours before boarding the flight to Harbin at 8pm on the same day.
Staying in touch with my HP Netbook
So, there I was, waiting, waiting and waiting.
It was an agonizing six-hour wait and the fact that the CZ6525 flight to Harbin was delayed didn't help.
I was on this trip with a fellow journalist from Sin Chew Jit Poh, which is a member of the Asian News Network (ANN).
The trip was organized by the China Daily who did a splendid job in keeping things together.
Podung airport at Dusk
Finally, when the boarding call was made, it took another two and a-half hours to land in Harbin.
Meanwhile, dinner was served.
This was a relief as my tummy was already growling.
Even when the food sucked, it was better than nothing.
When I arrived at Harbin, I was greeted by Yolanda Pao, a China Daily staff whom I kept in touch with over the travel arrangments.
At the airport, I finally met Rene Foo, the reporter from Sin Chew daily.
So, basically, we spent 16 hours on the road before arriving at Harbin. We checked-in at the Harbin Shangri-La hotel before calling it a night....
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