Saturday, October 08, 2005

China Trip I - Outbound Travel

I went to China for the first time in October 2005 as part of a business trip for work. I work for Motorola and one of our manufacturing sites is in China (surprise). Before we build our phones in mass production, we need to do small builds at the lead site to ensure that everything correlates to our prototype factory here in Chicago. That's the reason for this trip. I'd be heading to Tianjin, which is 2 hours South East by car from Beijing.

Now the great thing about this trip is that I love to fly. I'm a big aviation enthusiast and follow the airline industry avidly. I could spend hours in an airport and not get bored. All previous times that I've flown have been in economy class and this would be my first time in Business Class. Boy, was I excited. I've read so many trip reports on of people's journeys on various airlines and various classes and knew exactly what to expect in terms of service during my flights. It would also be my first time to use an airline lounge in an airport. Maybe this doesnt sound that exciting to some of you, but I could hardly contain myself.

Oh yeah, I was also excited about visiting a new country. Almost forgot about that. Mine and most people's impression of China is all that we see in the news and it's not that great of an image. I was sure in for a shocker for how modern Beijing and the rest of China, that I saw is. More on that later.

Below are pictures from my travel to China. If needed, you can skip to the next post...

Taking a Mercedes Benz S-Class to the airport. This is allowed by the company as they want to you arrive well rested for work when you land. I was enjoying this already.

American Airlines Terminal 3 at Chicago O'Hare Airport

The Chicago Skyline from the AA Lounge

Taking off from Chicago on a cloudy day. Bye bye.

And then breaking through the clouds to a nice bright sunny day. I love the feeling of breaking through the clouds. It's always a nice day up here. Dont the clouds look all fluffy...

Rock River, near Rockford, Illinois. My motorcycling friends and I ride around here quite often.

Breakfast served in First Class on the AA flight to San Jose. They even used a little table cloth. The direct flight from Chicago to Tokyo was booked, so we would be taking the one from San Jose to Tokyo, and then connecting to Beijing.

Art on the windows in the San Jose Airport resembling a cheering crowd awaiting your arrival.

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700

Our American Airlines Boeing 777-200 aircraft all ready to cross the Pacific. They're the only carrier to polish the body of their aircraft. Makes for an interesting livery.

The pilots looking busy, probably programming the navigation computer with their intended route for the flight.

Lunch onboard in Business Class. To start, a little salad... (note the little salt and pepper shaker)

Entree - Filet Mignon

Dessert - a little fruit and some port wine

Mignight snack for those that were awake - cold chicken breast on some veggies. You bet I stayed awake for most of the flight. For one thing, I was so excited, then I was watching all the movies and eating all this food... Also, this would help with getting over jet lag sooner. We would be arriving in Beijing at night (which would be morning for Chicago) and I wanted to be really tired when I got to our hotel so that I would sleep properly the whole night and adjust my body clock sooner.

to our gate after landing at Narita Intl Airport in Tokyo. Narita is the name of the small town that the airport is next to. Tokyo city itself is about 1.5 hours by bus.

A Japan Airlines Boeing 747-400 at her home airport.

Now, my perception of Japan is that of a high-tech country and this was reaffirmed during my first visit there in March 2004. This notice board however just looked so out of place, quite tacky actually. I would think there would be a flashing neon sign with all this info on there.

We had arrived at Terminal 1 (on top) and had to get to Terminal 2 (at the bottom) to catch our Japan Airlines flight to Beijing.

I thought we would be taking a train, like other modern airports (Hong Kong for example), but no, we would be taking a bus that would skirt around the ramp area (where the planes and the other airport vehicles move about). I was incredibly excited as this was my first time in recent years to step onto the ramp and be so close to these magnificent aircraft and I had to get my picture taken. And then the bus went about 10 feet from all these 747s and 777s, I was in heaven, taking video and so many pictures. I was so excited that I left my passport on the bus and had to wait 30 minutes for it to return. Oops. The Japan Airlines staff were so helpful. I felt quite sheepish.

This is just a water fountain in the airport concourse. But dont the plants make it an inviting oasis...

The baggage claim area at the Beijing Intl Airport. The ads on the baggage belt were for visiting Singapore. Excellent idea, I say. People are usually standing around and staring at the belt for their bags, anyways. And note the little pandas and bamboo shoots.

My hotel room at the Renaissance Hotel (part of Marriott) in TEDA, Tianjin, China. TEDA stands for Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Area. I dont know where the T from technological went. It's basically a free trade zone where there's a lot of high-tech factories, including Motorola.

This was the best hotel room I've seen so far. The thing that did it for me was the glass wall and shutters between the bathroom and the bedroom. It makes the room look that much bigger and what an excellent layout.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Heya Jammin,

It was really cool to see your blog on Tianjin, specifically the part about Datura/A1. Sounds like you had/have similar interests in "what to do after the club level shuts down". Thanks for posting the pics and videos - I came back empty-handed in that respect.

How about those little red taxis, huh?!? Now you know what they do with all those recycled Budweiser cans - they turn them into body parts for Taxis in China. And yes, when driving, the right of way belongs to the one with the least to lose (taxi) / OR the biggest vehicle!!! Wonder what the life expectancy is on horns over there......