Dan Dot Blog

Based on a true story

Flying to Shanghai

I’m on the plane to Shanghai now, writing an offline draft on my iPhone (which will hopefully explain any brevity and the occasional typo). I’m on a 747; definitely the biggest plane I’ve ever been on. The idea that it has two decks is pretty amazing! I’m traveling with my father, which was hugely fortunate, I think (hope) for both of us.

The passengers seem to be made up of a very strong majority of Chinese which kind of surprised me. I’m not sure if business is slow or it’s just not a heavy travel day, but I’m seeing very few business travelers (or maybe they’re all up in first class). We are towards the back of the plane and around a TON of kids. They’re all really pleasant, well-behaved, and outrageously CUTE! I know Cynthia agrees with me, but white babies just don’t hold a candle to Asians in cuteness.

The time on board has been passing pretty quickly. We got good seats so we’ve been able to intermittently sleep and I’m actually very comfortable. For now the plane feels a bit like home and I’m oddly a little nervous about leaving it. I’m really not sure what kind of world
I’m going to step into when I deplane, and though I’m tremendously excited, can’t help but be a little nervous and apprehensive.

There’s a lot that I still have to do to prepare for the conference, but the more I look at the program, the more excited I am to attend. It realy looks right up my alley in so many ways and looks like it’ll offer some fresh perspectives on more quantitative and computational approaches to psychology which will probably be helpful if we continue moving forward with our collaboration with Chen Yu and colleagues at Indiana.

I’m also really excited that I know a handful of people in Shanghai. Once I’m established I’ll be checking in with Liwen and Chen Jie to learn of their plans and hopefully make some of our own. Also, my father’s Chinese friend Kathy has introduced me to some students from Fudan University via email. This will be especially helpful and interesting as Fudan is the host institution for my conference, which is incidentally named ICDL (more info at ICDL Website).

I feel the plane pitching a bit, so perrhaps we’re getting close. We had a really interesting flight path. We flew almost due North over the upper peninsula and Thunder Bay in Canada before going through Alaska and cutting through (I think) a bit of the arctic circle. Living on a sphere makes life interesting :-).

I’m just listening to my iPhone, trying to stay awake. Right now I feel great! Though I should be really tired right now by home time, I actually feel like it’s maybe only 6 or 7 in the evening, which isn’t too far from the time in China. I hope that I can adapt quickly. My sleep patterns are so screwy anyway they’re pretty malleable.

Something about this trip is making me miss Milford for some reasons. I don’t know if I just anticipate sprawling urbanization and am already reaching back for a reassuring, semi-pastoral, small-town memory, or perhaps I’m just hungry, but I really am in the mood for some Milford House breadsticks and cake from the Milford Baking Co.

I’m nervous about the prospect of getting quarantined, especially given our proximity to so many children. Once we’ve cleared that hurdle I hopefully won’t need to think about flu for the rest of the trip.

Well, my hands are getting tired from typing on the iPhone, so I guess I’ll leave it at this. I’ll try to have a “settling-in” post once we make of to our hotel.

Hearts and shooting stars,
Daniel

UPDATE: 4:30 PM
Starting now I’ll try to keep all posts in Shanghai local time. They’re just now serving breakfast on our flight and everybody is waking up. I had a nice nap since last writing and feel very refreshed and ready to be on the ground in Shanghai. My dad says that maybe we’ll go for tea and foot massages tonight, which sounds very agreeable. I’ve been reading “Alice in Wonderland” on my iPhone and really enjoying it. I’ve actually resumed reading for pleasure since I graduated, so if you have any recommendations, I’d be happy to hear them. I’ve figures out a way to disable calling on my iPhone, effectively making it a touch, without removing the SIM. Evidently while in airplane mode you can just reenable wifi, which should work well for purposes of not accidntally spending international roaming minutes. I’ll try to take some photos from the cab if practical and upload them with my evening post.

Breakfast was really tasty. I’ve been really impressed with the food, service, and friendliness of the flight crewing. I even saw one of the attendants playing cards with a big group of children in the rear galley. I guess to do this job, especially the really long ones like this, you’ve got to be cut out for it and enjoy what you’re doing.

I’ve managed to get a fair amount of work done on the plane and have a lot of emails that will sent out the next time I have an internet connection. I also had time to correspond with a few friends and because I had so much time on my hands and no connectivity, I drafted outrageously long and detailed updates on my life. I’m doing a good job blogging so far I think; I hope I can keep it up.

I’m already excited to have this record to look back on later. Well, I’m pretty written out for now; think I’m going to go back to Alice in Wonderland now.

UPDATE 6:08 PM

They’re doing the on flight health inspection now. It’s a little spooky; we can see people in all white hazmat-esque suits moving through first class. They’ll take our temperature soon. I think they’re using some sort of infrared thermometer because we were told to close our eyes. I’m happy I’ve been healthy these past couple weeks. This has got to be pretty frightening for the younger kids since I’m already minorly spooked. When the official boarded the plane they had a representative give an eerie address; I think he’s Australian.

I’ve snapped a few photos of the inspectors as they come through and these are uploaded.

UPDATE 6:34 PM
We’ve cleared quarantine (I think) and are deplaning. My first view of China is a wet one from my window. See photo

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June 2, 2009 - Posted by | Personal | , ,

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