A Tale of Three Cities Home

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The Journey to a Bed that almost never was

It was the best of the Internet, it was the worst of Internet -- and AT&T made a killing

I thought I was being very clever by booking our hotel reservation at Shanghai thru the Internet even though my father advised me to book my hotel room through my Uncle #12 since he lives just one block away from the hotel and is used to booking that hotel for my parents. I figured that I should not bother Uncle #12 since I have not even met him before. So several months ago I booked our hotel reservation at Jin Jiang Hotel ( http://www.jjtcn.com/english/main.htm ) thru the Internet. It was simple and easy. I even received a confirmation number in an e-mail confirming our reservation. I thought I was all set. Two nights prior to the trip I thought maybe I should call to confirm my reservation. My worst fear happened as they explained that they don't have my reservation. Then they gave me the good news and the bad news: there is no problem with giving us a room for 5 nights, but the last two nights cannot be confirmed due to a large convention. I was livid. My brother then suggested that I call up my Uncle #12. I did get thru to him. Thanks to him going to the hotel a couple of times I was able to get a fax confirming our 7-nights reservation. Frankly I was not sure whether the fax was really valid. I was worried during our whole flight to Shanghai. I hate to begin our vacation in Shanghai being homeless :-) 

I did not find out about the worst part of the story until several weeks after the vacation when I received the AT&T long distance phone bill. Normally I use an inexpensive long-distance carrier 1010345, ( http://www.1010345.com/ ) which costs only 17 cents per minute for China. That evening I had connection problems on the China end so I used AT&T instead. I was shocked at the phone bill. I made 9 phone calls totaling 25 minutes, and I was charge $5 per minute so that's $125! That's the most expensive long-distance phone bill I ever have.

It was the best shuttle to the airport, it was the worst limousine

When we go to the airport we usually park our car at long-term parking if the trip is less than 1-week or take a taxi if the trip is longer than 1-week. I thought why not take a limousine. It's really not that much more expensive than taking a taxi. On the day of our departure the limousine arrived promptly. The driver was very courteous. However, this limousine looked like it was from the 1970's. It all white on the outside, and velvety red on the inside. The worst were the white frills lining the doors and the red bow on the trunk! It was so tacky that I chose not to pose that picture on the web. Theresa kind of gave me a weird look after she got into the car. Okay, okay. I get the idea. No more limo, at least from this company, next time.

We were quite impressed with the new San Francisco International Airport ( http://www.flysfo.com/ ) Maybe next time we can even take BART to the airport--anything to avoid taking that tacky limo :-) We even had time to enjoy some snacks at Emporio Rulli ( http://www.rulli.com/  ) and promised each other that we will visit their real cafe at Larkspur. Theresa even bought some lotion at Sephora ( http://www.sephora.com/ ).

It was the best flight, it was the worst movie

Our 13.5-hours direct flight from San Francisco to Shanghai on United Airline was very good. The best aspect of the trip was that I used Thermacare heatpad ( http://www.thermacare.com/ ) to relieve the soreness in my neck and shoulder during the long trip. Theresa was very envious. Airline food is not worth writing about. I enjoyed "Ice Age" but had to endure "Divine Secrets of the Yaya Sisterhood." It was such a torture, but I got nothing else better to do.

After landing safely at Pudong International Airport, we took a 45-minutes ride that costed only 135 RMB. Theresa was amused that our two medium-sized suitcases don't even fit completely inside the trunk, so the trunk had to be tied down. Of course, the best part of this very long day was confirming our 7-nights stay at Jin Jiang Hotel. We will not be "Sleepless in Shanghai" :-)


Stuff for the trip. Our packing list.


My suitcase and backpack. It was 20 kilograms.


Saying goodbye to Rondo


Our tacky limo ride


"The Lady in Red" or was the lady all red? :-)


Snack at San Francisco


San Francisco International Airport


Survived our flight


Finally to bed


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