Goodbye China - It's time to go home

Trip Start Mar 09, 2009
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Trip End Mar 18, 2009


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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It must be around 9am, on March 17th, and I am just crawling out of bed. Today I go home. My American Airlines flight departs Pudong International Airport at 6pm for Chicago, Illinois, where I will then connect on another American Airlines flight to Miami.

I take a nice hot shower, pack my bag one last time, have some breakfast in the hotel restaurant, use the business center one last time, and proceed to check-out. I did not have the desire to do or see anything else in Shanghai so I opted to head to the airport early (really early), but this time I was departing out of a different airport (Pudong International Airport) from the one that I arrived at (Hongqiao International Airport). So rather, than taking a taxi that will take about an hour to get there (so I was told) I elected to hop on the subway system (http://www.urbanrail.net/as/shan/shanghai.htm) at the Nanjing Road West station and I took "Line 2" to the Longyang Road station, where I would connect to the MAGLEV train (http://www.smtdc.com/en/index.asp) that would take me to the airport.

The MAGLEV train (Magnetic Levitation) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Maglev_Train) is the worlds fastest train. It was developed by a German firm named Transrapid. Powerful magnets lift the entire train about 10 millimeters above the special track, called a guideway, since it mainly directs the passage of the train. Other magnets provide propulsion, braking, and the speeds (upto 500 kph in test runs) are a good 60 percent faster than the famous Bullet Trains largely due to the reduction of friction.

The journey from the Lonyang Road station to Pudong International Airport, a distance of 30 kilometers, takes 7 minutes and 20 seconds to complete. The train I road on reached a maximum speed of 432 kph (268 mph) in less than 3 minutes. A display inside each train cabin keeps passengers informed of the trains speed (see my pics). The ride was smooth, comfortable, and extremely fast. I would say too fast, because before you know it the ride is over.

I arrived at the airport a little before 12pm and found that the American Airlines ticket counter did not open till 3pm, so I had plenty of time to kill. I had some lunch and then found a business center that I used until the ticket counter opened. The flight departed on time, and to my delight the aircraft was a B777.

Goodbye China !!!  :o(
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