Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Good morning from Hangzhou, China!

Waiting in MSP for SEA and PVG!
The 21 million people who live in Hangzhou, China welcomed me off a high speed train from Shanghai last least it seemed like most of them were in the train station....!  I arrived 24 hours prior to the flight containing the Band to make certain final arrangements were in order AND to assure that a friendly face would meet these intrepid (and tired) travelers when they arrive later tonight.  As this is written, it is noon on Thursday (10 p.m. in Sioux Falls) and the Band is about four hours and thirty minutes yet from landing in Shanghai.  Some of them have been on the road since 1:00 a.m. Wed morning.  All of them I'm told are doing well and the flights have been on time and unvenventful.  In fact, they are due to arrive 30 minutes early tonight!

We're on the plane Kelsey(s)!
Almost to Seattle, thanks Morgan!
Through the miracle of the internet, I've actually been able to keep track of everyone.  They've been "saying goodbye" on social media, knowing that it might be difficult to keep in constant communication with all of you once they arrive.  They've been posing for group photos both in the airport AND on the plane, and they've been watching out the window, admiring the views of the mountains near Seattle as they fly along. 

 What can I promise them upon arrival in Shanghai?  

The Nade Hotel, our first stop!
First of all, a madhouse at China immigration.  The lines seemed forever to me yesterday as several international flights arrived within moments of one another.  The Chinese system of order and attention to business makes that line move quickly, and then its on to watching bags roll onto massive conveyor belts, waiting to be claimed by their owners.  The students will, once they have luggage in hand, proceed out the “Nothing to Declare” lane and be met by a sea of people waving signs with names of passengers, hotels, businesses and more.  I must have passed 200 signs before I found Fei Fei, one of our guides, who was holding a sign with my name on it.  Tonight, my name will be replaced by AUGUSTANA BAND!

This all may take an hour or so, and then they will load buses for a three hour drive to the Nade Hotel in Hangzhou – a very nice, 22 story hotel across the street from a large university campus.  If I were a betting man, I’d guess that within moments of arriving, most of this crowd of 68 will be in bed.  (And I won’t blame them!).

When they arise tomorrow, they'll be met by a bountiful buffet breakfast (with some
Mandarin Oranges?  You bet!
items I guarantee they've never seen before) and a full day that will keep them from getting tired.  Morning touring, an afternoon rehearsal and then our very first concert in the Hangzhou Theater/Concert Hall.  This one may be performed on adrenalin alone, but I bet it will be fabulous!

Today’s weather:  Blue skies.  52 degrees.  Not bad considering what we left!

No comments:

Post a Comment