Monday, September 04, 2006

I'm back

UPDATED with a pic of the world at 430 kph for M.F.

What a trip. Sitting here in my home office in Vancouver at 4:30 a.m. on Monday and thinking back over the last five weeks, the whole thing is a bit of a blur.

Over the weekend I decided to see if I could catch one of the Air Canada flights to Vancouver ahead of schedule. In the end my friend Dean wasn't able to make it up from Hong Kong. It would have cost way too much for just a two-day visit. I'm kicking myself for not planning things better so I could visit with him.

I took the Maglev high-speed train to the Shanghai Pudong airport. I opted for the first class ticket, which wasn't that much more expensive. It gives you a seat in the front car and I had it all to myself. There was a digital clock and speedometer on display. At exactly 12:20 the engine roared up. My jaw fell open as the digits racked up the speed. 100km/h, 200km/h, 250km/h (this is as fast as I thought it went) 300km/h, 400km/h, 430km/h. I couldn't believe it. The world was whizzing by so fast I couldn't focus on anything. The trip that takes roughly 45 minutes by taxi was over in just 8.

Air Canada was good about the stand by ticket. There was no extra cost, and my luggage was accepted. I grabbed a final meal at the airport restaurant, a noodle soup of grilled pork and vegetables. The flight lifted off at around 5 pm on Saturday, and touched down in Vancouver four hours earlier at 1 pm Saturday. Donna was waiting at the airport for me, very happy to see me. I was overjoyed to see her there.

I've unpacked now, and tried to get back into a normal sleeping patter, but with the clock at 5 a.m. that's clearly not working yet.