On the way now to Beijing. Chengdu airport is really modern and spacious.
Whats interesting for me is that I keep on yoyo-ing between slumdog and millionaire. I’m staying in 2-3 star hotels to save money (of course) and also with the theory that if your hotel is too nice you will spend too much time indoors and not outside on the tourist stuff. The same goes for the transport – trains and buses are cheap but can be a bit of a hardship post. I took trains to Chengdu and arrived pretty smelly and disheveled and it was fine – I got to speak with the other people in my compartment – but it is a slow process. The train back to Beijing is 26 hours and that’s why I’m taking the plane.
The price difference between say a plane and a train (RMB1100 VS. RMB700) makes a huge difference in the comfort levels. At the stations you are in the developing world and have to put up with huge volumes of people. The airports (so far) are like 5 star hotels and the people are, well, normal.
I’ve been through some really smelly swamps in the cities as well as New York 5th avenue type shops – 5th avenue is comfortable but boring – the swamps can get really interesting.
Chair massage in the airport waiting area.
This is a really clever device. Haven’t seen them in SA but I’m sure they are throughout the world in airports. (Actually maybe they were in South African airports at one time but got stolen. Sitting in a shebeen in Crossroads). It’s a landphone that doubles up as an internet screen/airline info/and whatever else – all on a touchscreen.
Next stop Beijing for a few days then back home.