Madrid - Shanghai
I left home just in time to go the airport. I was supposed to meet with H.C. in one of the train stops and she, at the same time, told A.L. to meet with us in the second subway that we had to take in order to go to the airport.
H.C. arrived a few minutes late and while waiting for her A.L. arrived.
I was a little bit worried because of the dimensions of my bag. The guys were planning to not check bags and keep them as hand luggage. And when I saw A.L.'s backpack my level of "worriedness" increased. He was only carrying a tiny little bag and 2 professional cameras!!
But the sensation passed as soon as I saw H.C. and her bag. It was of similar dimensions and weight, so that "cool-ed me" down.
The 3 of us, happy and excited for what was about to come, couldn't stop talking and speculating about different things on the trip.
S.D. was waiting for us at the airport, and indicated through a phone call the exact place to which we had to go. Once queued for the check-in, a man without a visible uniform nor airline identification was sort of warning us that our bags could not be passed as handbag because of the weight. At the same time we were wondering why was this unknown man asking about our bags.. Anyway, said and done, not even A.L.'s diminutive bag was admitted. Chaos in the air, everyone was deciding how and what to carry. I limited myself to leave all my things as they were. 0 complications, no stress.
Without stress and without calmness, we entered the plane. "Qatar Airways" was the name of the airline.
It reminded me a lot of Air Europa with the screens in each one of the seats, although I must confess that Qatar is a lot better (personal opinion).
In the first flight to Doha (because from Madrid to Shanghai there are no direct flights and the price is much cheaper..) there were a lot of people. I thought I was going to be able to sleep, but in the end I just spent my time watching movies, playing games, eating and that was it. Transfer was very fast in Doha because we arrived just in time. In fact, there was a huge line, but we were said to go through the priority line because of the time it was.
Doha is a city incredibly expensive, and you can tell that because of the huge cosmetic store inside the airport.
To go the airplane we had to take a bus, and while waiting we saw a chinese man that was screaming for help because his 2 year old girl faded. It was an interesting and our first chinese episode.
The experience in this second plane from Doha to Shanghai was "particular", if we must call it something. Because I didn't have a red passport (and again this is my personal opinion and still don't want to sound discriminatory), I was seated alone. My 3 tripmates were seated in a 3 seat row and I was with 2 other strangers.
From the moment I entered that plane I couldn't stop feeling how the sights of the people were staring at me (and after mentioning this to the tripmates, they said they felt the same way). I must confess that this "situation" forced myself to sleep in order to not think on the strangers beside me.. Because my tripmates were "confortable enough" to ignore my situation (personal opinion)...
The funny thing is that once we arrived to the chinese Inmigration, the "police woman" allowed the owners of the red passport to pass, but when the black passport arrived she carefully analyzed with a magnifying glass my data sheet. She must have seen something, because a few minutes later came another "police man" to analyze the black passport. Thank God this man was good enough to let me in!
Arriving to Shanghai was exciting for me. Asia felt just amazing!... So we went to the currency exchange office and took a taxi.
The experience in the taxi was good and it reminded me a lot of home: Public buses, wild transportation and a long though a little more wide "high-way" that reminded me of those short ways to "El Ozama " and " Alma Rosa".
Our hostel in Shanghai was cozy, just as the chinese girls that were working there. The street was full of restaurants with an intense smell of fried food and Fishmongers in which often you could find a fresh frog...