The journey, immigration and check in were entirely uneventful. Stood in a long queue for a long time and then discovered I should have gone to Business/First one. The staff were extremely courteous and friendly and helpful. The lady at the counter gave me the seat after listening to all my cranky explanations of how I wanted to spend 10 hours on a plane and got the full lowdown on my infirmities. She smiled all through and I got a great seat. None of the chaos of AI nor the extremes of fawning or outright rude behaviour. No obnoxious security checks and frisking bordering on downright assault on human dignity and intrusion of privacy as on American Airlines or so many others in the world. But then I thought, strangely who wants to attack a Chinese airline – A Jap probably, but the moment he was reminded of the volume of trade that was currently happening and what was possible, even he would stop in his tracks. A Taiwanese probably but then where would they sell their products. It is in the interest of the world to keep China and its people going – to make even cheaper products by the second and to buy everybody’s goods and justify their existence.
I was on the upper deck with only 25% seats occupied and it was very peaceful. The aircrafts are old and the seats are certainly not meant for long distance flights but strangely enough I was so happy and at peace with myself that I slept without any aids for 6 hours and not even a hint of spondolosis. I think living like a kept woman does not agree with me. I must work for my supper – I get that from my mother. No movie channels, no entertainment worth talking about, headphones were some cheap fake market in China, could not hear the announcements as the PA system was poor and of course no drink laden trolleys or trolleys groaning under the weight of 7 course meals as in Air India and nobody thrusting food under your nose and exhorting you to drink and eat so that they can take the left overs home. But service extremely courteous, excellent food, I got just what I had ordered and seemed to have come from some good Italian restaurant. Dichotomies galore. Air hostesses cant speak good English so you cant have a conversation but they are trained in asking you questions about your meal preferences etc and you get lulled into thinking that maybe you can have a conversation with them.
No long queues at immigration and there was a Grand Hyatt rep just as I stepped out of the plane into the terminal. She took over and everthing was over pretty quickly and I felt a bit cheated with the lack of any drama whatsoever.
It is beautiful weather here, sunshine and spring like it used to be in Delhi – about 10 celsius. All the sweaters totally wasted and my sherling would have made me look completely idiotic.
The Grand Hyatt is lovely, we stayed in a really lousy hotel last time we were here. The hotel is just what I like in a hotel it is next to the main street but just off it and bright sunshine is pouring into a plaza in front with a fountain playing. The hotel could be anywhere and has the stamp of big chains and yet is a small hotel so has shades of a small hotel in Europe. am really enjoying myself. I feel in control of my life once again, I don’t know after how long and feel a strong sense of purpose and feel the depression lifting out of me. Its not hard work I am afraid of, its failure and the purposelessness of life. I hope I can keep this going.
Will start work tomorrow at 11 a.m. Am going to have an Italian meal, come and sleep and then go for a massage.
Just connected with Jehangir Pocha – he is the Boston Globe journalist, Indrajit Gupta put me in touch with him last time we came here. He knows about China. Am going to have dinner with him tomorrow.
Look after yourself. Missing you but also feeling good that I can still do this on my own.
This long thing as I want to record all my impressions of China. And this is going into my diary.