Upon arrival in Shanghai, the first thing that struck me was the humidity and heat. I was used to the dry heat of Ontario, and it had reached 30 degrees in Ottawa. However, Shanghai reached 35 degrees, but with the humidity, it was close to 40. Customs were cleared faster than anywhere else I’ve ever been, and not a single question was asked. Our baggage was already off the plane and waiting on the carrousel when we showed up.
In total it only took 45 minutes to go through the formalities and get a bus ticket to Hangzhou. Along the way, there was plenty of stuff to see. What I found most interesting was that there were trees that lined the highway all the way from Shanghai to Hangzhou. The middle divider was filled with hedges that were trimmed equal height the entire distance. The amount of work carried out by the Chinese people to maintain their highways was truly astounding.
Most of the buildings we saw on the way seemed abandoned, or haven’t been used for a very long time. Most were large 3 storey condo buildings, which had little furniture that could be seen through the windows. Some were covered up by billboards that were painted against the façade of the building facing the highway. As well, there was a significant number of billboards that were put up along the highway, advertising everything from phone companies, to insurance, and escort services.
Even though I’m not a Civil Engineer, I was amazed by the infrastructure in place and the effort that was put into building it. There was an elevated Maglev system running along the highway, as well as many high bridges over rivers to allow for the waterways to be used by large shipping cargo ships travelling to the ports in China. The highway system was very well constructed, with many on-ramps and off-ramps going over the highway below
Once we got to Hangzhou, we met outside of the Huanglong Stadium close by to the University. Lie Wei and Qiao Xiang got us a taxi to the International Student Dormitory, where we will be staying over the course of our stay. We had dinner near the dormitory, and overall the food was quite good.
We’ll be taking a few days to get used to the time difference, and will be touring the campus and our labs sometime this week.