Friday, June 06, 2008

Shanghai-Pudong Airport Terminal 2

Writing here from the new Terminal 2 at PVG. My first time out of here, having come in to this one last Monday. But you don't really get to see too much arriving.

We took the cab out to the Shanghai Maglev Museum for the ride into the airport on the train. Why they call it a "museum, I do not know since it's just a train station. It's their place though and they can call it whatever they want.

The train ride is always fun, especially so when you have first-timers along with you. It roars along between 300 and 400 KPH, or 180n and 240 MPH, across the Yangtze delta. The view out the window is of small blocks of stone houses with those special Chinese roofs, embellished with the little turn-ups on the ends. We pass many small truck farms, today green with the beginnings of this year's vegetable crop. Dotting the plain are small impounded ponds, today frequented by fishermen with long bamboo poles, angling for today's midday meal. The contrast between rural life and this aluminum snake blasting along 20 feet above the ground is unique. We bank and we go straight and the silence is only broken when the train on the opposite track passes us, it laden with incoming passengers from airports around the world.

I am sitting now in the lounge. I find more and more that these little special traveller environments are reasons only to load up on cheap carbs and drink some water or coffee. Or, the option most people elect, free beer and wine. As much as I try to be open to drinking like this, I just don't get putting a buzz on in advance of a 12 hour plane flight. Aside from the pastries, there are also many other unappetizing things like brown noodles and sushi, two more things that make no sense to me when considered in the light of our upcoming travel.

The new terminal is quite stunning. I've put a shot at the end of the ceiling, because airport ceilings seem to be something that the Chinese architects do very, very well. All the major airports I have passed through over here offer an architectural marvel overhear. The rest of the place is just acres and acres of slippery brown marble tile.

Compared to Terminal 1 though, this one is heaven. It is not yet crowded, the stores are new and well-stocked and the general feeling is much more positive. Terminal 1 was an odd mix of lofty design and poor execution on the necessities. This one seems to have gotten it right.

One hour and 15 minutes to boarding, time perhaps to go and wander around and escape the unwanted attention of those chocolate-chocolate-chip muffins.






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