This first blog entry is dedicated to my dear friends at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church who inspired me to write this blog by saying, "If you write it, they will come."
We’re finally here in the People’s Republic of China in the city of Ningbo! It’s been a long journey, but we’ve made it halfway around the world.
You realize when you travel to Shanghai on a Tuesday morning that almost no one is traveling for business. Our American Airlines flight was full of professional looking Chinese and a few American passengers. Thankfully, our flight was uneventful, but even if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t have noticed. After pulling an all-nighter, Robert and I were more than happy to catch a few zzzzs on the plane. But that didn’t keep us from watching a few in-flight movies on our 14 ½ hour flight from Chicago to Shanghai. I watched Sex and the City (fell asleep at all the good parts), Swing Vote, Baby Mama (I know, I know), and Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (they cut it off about halfway through because we were about to land.) During our flight, we had some beautiful views—especially as we flew over the snow capped plains of Siberia—breathtakingly gorgeous. It was a clear picture of God's majesty.
Most of you know, I’m a huge fan of airplane food. This time it was just okay. We had our standard chicken or beef option. Then we had a salami sandwich—yuck! (Had to tap into my supply of almonds and raisins.) We wrapped up our meals with a pizza or Chinese noodle option. Robert had the pizza. I inhaled the noodles.
After landing, it took us about 30 minutes to make it through customs. We then met up with our party and met 2 of the other 3 American singers (Aundi and Lis) as well as Il Hun, a Korean singer living in Munich. While we waited on some other singers to arrive, our escorts took us to the food court to get something to eat. Here’s my confession: our first meals in the great land of China were…KFC, and Pizza Hut!!! I’m so ashamed!!!
About an hour later, we boarded our bus to take our 3 hour ride south of Shanghai to the city of Ningbo--kind of like Omaha. By the time we reached our hotel, we had been traveling for almost 24 hours and were quite pooped. Unfortunately, it was only about 6:30 PM in China (13 hours ahead of Kansas City) and we had to stay up so we could get our bodies on schedule. So, we checked in and went to dinner in the dining room. Dinner was buffet style with an assortment of items to try. Attention Newsome family: they had cushaw! It was served cold and in cubes. It's the stuff that looks like sweet potatoes. I loved it! We were also informed that we would never be offered a cold drink with our meals because the Chinese believe your food digests better with warm drinks. So we had hot water and tea.
After dinner, we went to the room and unpacked. One really cool gadget in the room is what I refer to as the motherboard—it controls everything. It’s a little table in the middle of the bed that controls every light in the room as well as the television. It even has a button that turns on a “Do Not Disturb” light outside the room. It was so convenient! After watching a little CCTV, the English Chinese news station (no news of the debate—can someone give us a summary?), we basically went to sleep—in our two single beds…
I'll send Day 2 later on today.
Love you all!
P.S. Robert says hi!