Tuesday, February 19, 2013

flight of fancy?

We were off on an adventure...
and had no idea what lay ahead.

We made our way to the Japan Airlines terminal in Vancouver...
where everything looked most festive.

Who knew we were going to China just as the Chinese New Year festivities were beginning?

Our traveling buddies came prepared for whatever they may encounter!

They modeled their protective gear at YVR...
before we 'set sail'!
('When in Rome....')

Let's just say that Japan Airlines is 5-star all the way!

I have never before been on a flight where the attendants bow to the passengers.
And I had no idea that there were still airlines using 'real' cutlery.
JAL made our long flight most tolerable.

We wondered what our accommodation would be like...
but thought that for one week we could likely tolerate most anything.

No worries.
Our hotels (a different one most every night) were five star throughout.
We soon discovered that most washrooms in China were not!
Our tour guide usually rated them for us...
and based on his rating we decided whether or not a bathroom break was necessary!
Public restrooms generally had squat toilets...
and there was nothing 'restful' about them.

It was a welcome relief to see a sign like this on the cubicle door!

Over the course of the week...
we enjoyed some fabulous Chinese dishes. 
Breakfasts were always buffet style in the hotel...
and included a western section.
We really appreciated the bacon, eggs and toast to start off the day!
I don't think I could ever get used to having salads and fish for breakfast.

We had lunch and dinner with our tour group...
at a large round table...
every day.
There were always lots of dishes to choose from.

By the end of the week, however...
I had seen more fish and duck soup than I cared to.

And I missed my coffee!

We slipped into a McDonald's in Hangzhou for a few minutes one afternoon...
just for coffee.


...we'll head down the highway into the city of Shanghai.
If you were expecting to see rickshaws you will be disappointed.
This is a modern Shanghai!


  1. Fascinating experiences....especially the washrooms! When we first went to France it was a bit like that, you had to be very careful where you chose!

  2. From the sublime to the ridiculous and back again. I can not imagine "rest room" facilities like those you describe. Hope that Japan Airlines becomes the standard bearer. After hearing about my sister's flight to Puerto Rico, I know that our airlines are nothing to write home about. I understand that some Americans are on their way for a visit. Hope everyone has a fun day!

  3. Your photos and commentary always make me feel as if I'm along for the trip! I knew about the restrooms - my kids went to S. Korea for a few weeks and came home saying "Mom, you would NEVER go to the bathroom in Korea!" haha

  4. What a wonderful first view! I'll be showing these photos to The Great Dane! I'm so glad your trip seems to have surpassed your expectations. I have no illusions about our flight in October, as I believe it's on Air Canada :(

  5. So fascinating! The rooms looked awesome....the bathrooms, well one could only hope for legs that are in shape! Yikes


  6. You and E. are so fabulous! Up for an adventure any time, any place! Everything looked first rate to me; thanks for skipping visuals for the dicey bits. (I recall one woman facing similar sketchy bathrooms declaring she would just wait and undergo surgery once she got home if necessary.)

  7. I've been busy shovelling snow and didn't realize that you were off on another adventure so will be looking forward to all your upcoming travel posts.

  8. Great post and thanks for sharing. Shangai has changed like everywhere else...sad!

  9. What an adventure - it all looks so wonderful and 5 Star as you say! I know what you mean about the squat toilets - we experienced these in South Korea and Thailand some years ago. Isn't if funny how we miss our "normal" things like coffee and Western restrooms?

  10. Great photos and stories. The hotel rooms look fabulous. Are they designed for westerners? I wonder what a Chinese bedroom looks like? The washroom facilities would be a challenge. We take our wonderful plumbing for granted, don't we?

    Enjoy your day with your visitors from the south and your time at Winks!

  11. WOW! 5 star is right! That looked fabulous...and REAL cutlery?!!! I had no idea that still existed on flights!
    The face masks...totally work...I know it looks goofy, but seriously...an airplane is nothing but a sealed aluminum petri dish 40,000 feet in the air!

  12. Wow! What a wonderful trip you're on. I have heard about the toilets there. Not nice! I noticed a lot of Asians in the airports on our recent travels to Alberta wearing the masks. I am always tempted to wear one on the planes when I think of all that stale air and the germs floating around. Enjoy your time away and safe travels to you!

  13. It's me again. I just read your previous post and realize you are back home from your wonderful trip. That is amazing the the Chinese government would sponsor this and I'm glad it was a very positive experience for you. I have heard that Shanghai is an amazing modern city.

  14. I am just amazed at what a fantastic deal this ended up being. I would have gone for that flight alone. =) Who knew they still sometimes serve food?

  15. I guess the Chinese gov't is trying to improve their image.They need all the help they can get! But, I understand that the country and the people are lovely. Glad you had a nice trip...bet you are exhausted!

  16. It looks like you got a bang for your buck. Isn't that nice that you were served so well on your flight? I noticed your friends must have been nervous about traveling to such far away places. Learning to squat is a great exercise in developing core muscle.

  17. Ooo la la...the hotels look real nice! The food...not so much. I'm glad you had this great whirlwind experience and I enjoyed hearing you share in person today!!

  18. So glad you took advantage of this great deal. I agree with Ellen....nice hotel....food.....well not so much:)

  19. How exciting!! My boys' band had a wonderful trip to Shanghai too!

  20. Judy, I could not wait to see these pictures and it was worth my wait. Five star hotels, wow, what fun! Everything looks more beautiful and colorful than I expected. It was so much fun reading your thoughts and about your experiences. I too, sure would have missed my coffee. Great post!


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson