Our last day started with breakfast at the Westin hotel on Wednesday with a new friend, from PriceWaterhouse Coopers.  Then some quick shopping for gifts for the families.  We went to YuYuan Garden area.  Just past the Pizza Hut, Starbucks and the McDonalds, there are several (dozens maybe?) small shops.  Kirk did some excellent haggling and got great souvenir clothing for his family.

Unfortunately, our flight was leaving from the wrong Shanghai airport for us to ride the Maglev train.  It would have been nice.  We took a taxi to the Airport (instead of the Metro) just to be on the safe side.  Got the 12:15 Hainan Airways flight to Beijing.  Best economy seats that we could get were middle seats.  Just two hours, so not terrible.  We did get a full meal on this flight, however.  I chose the “duck rice.”

At the Beijing airport, we arrived at the domestic terminal and had to take the 15 minute bus ride to the International terminal.  We paid attention this time (unlike when we arrived after a full day of travel) and saw this cavernous counter area.  After an uneventful check-in, we spent a couple of hours at the Air China First Class lounge.  Nowhere near as nice as the Maple Leaf lounge of Air Canada in Toronto on the way out.

Once on the flight at 6:00 p.m., it was a pretty easy 13 hours.  I didn’t mention this on the way out, but the most direct route to an from Beijing from Toronto is over the North Pole (or near it).    Since it was daylight much of the time in both directions, there were some awesome photos of the frozen North.

Kirk and I were both thinking of skipping the second meal on the flight, since we had a couple of hours to kill and intended to go back to the lavish Maple Leaf lounge.  Glad we didn’t, since the immigration, border control and TSA North had other plans for our two hours!

It was a bit of an adjustment to go from the palatial first class of the Boeing 777 to the cramped confines of the Dash-8 (propeller) aircraft  to PIT.  The latter was delayed about 30 minutes while, according to the pilot, maintenance “pumped up” the oxygen a bit.  I pictured guys out there with a bicycle pump!

The flight was fine.  It was good to get home to our families and our own beds, after a successful and exciting trip.  Thanks for reading.



Written by Bernstein- Burkley, P.C. on April 5, 2012

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