Friday, October 16, 2009

China-Day 1

From Bangkok Airport
I am sitting and penning this down in the Bangkok airport. My flight, for the first time in my life, was 50 minutes ahead of schedule! After getting off the flight, I had to walk what seemed about a 1.5 kms to get to terminal C3, where I sat down waiting for John to arrive. He arrived within a few minutes and we started chatting. Before joining IBM, he was a school teacher! Now he works with the GMU team in STG. We went and had coffee together. My cold coffee had too much cream and a lot of ice-cream in it!! My stomach am still filling full. This is after a decent late night dinner (1:45 am) served in-flight from Kolkata to Bangkok. The braised chicken was really nice. I had diet coke to go with it. Need to keep a check on my calories. Have made a lot of effort this last year to lose over 10 kgs, so cannot just pile them back on. It's 8 am in Bangkok now and John and I are waiting for our connecting flight to Chengdu which starts boarding at 9:35 am.

Reached Chengdu right on time. Mae was waiting for us at the airport. She is one of our interpreters and speaks quite well. She had spent one year in Britain which is why her English is really good. We did not have any problems in communicating with her. We took a taxi (an old Volkswagon - most taxis here seemed to be VW) and it took us about 30 minutes to get to the hotel.The hotel "Minshan Ane Grand Hotel" is bang in the center of the city. It has only walkways around it, so no vehicles are allowed. It has only stores and restaurants on both sides of the streets. We did not want to be too adventurous today so went for a standard McDonald grilled chicken sandwich. It cost me 13RMB. Not sure if that's high or low. It's approximately $2 (or Rs. 100), so I think it was a reasonable price.There are a lot of small/large Chinese restaurants around here.
The hotel has reasonably good internet connectivity. I can connect to the IBM network. The hotel front desk said I had to deposit 200 RMB to call India. Instead of doing that I got onto the IBM network and sent a instant message to one of my teammates. He called me and also informed my family that I have reached safely. My wife and parents called me on the mobile that DOT has provided me with. Incoming calls to mobiles in China are free like in India. So, I think we can remain in touch for the duration of my stay in China.

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