Thursday, June 5, 2008

China Day 06: In Which We Crash

We were so tired by the time we got to our room that all I could do was fall down. At least I can collapse in nice surroundings! Grand Circle switched us from the hotel they had been using - I think it was called the Argyle - to a brand-new Days Hotel Tongji at the last minute - we got a letter about a week before we left on the trip.

Fred says the old hotel was fine, but the rooms were so small you couldn't open both suitcases at the same time. Our new hotel room is certainly bigger than that! It is decorated in dark browns and beiges and it's very pretty. There's even a nice TV, not that we'll have time to watch it, and when Dad does tune in to CNN it's always the Democratic Party Primaries all day every day - shoot me now.

They are pulling a cute bait-and-switch on us with respect to climate control, though. As in all Chinese hotels, the electricity in the room only works when the occupant's key card is in a slot on the wall. It seems like this hotel put everything on that circuit, including (unbelievably) the refrigerator. Nothing in there ever cooled down lower than the ambient temperature.

In addition, someone in this hotel's management decided that nobody actually needs air conditioning after ten o'clock at night. So they cut the AC in the whole building! It took us several days to figure out why it NEVER got to a comfortable temperature in our room here. I resorted to my old "before we got the AC in the house" tactic of taking a long cool shower just before bedtime. Cools you right down so you can get to sleep.

Tomorrow will be a busy day! We are scheduled to tour a Buddhist temple, visit the Shanghai Museum (I want to see their scroll-painting collection), stop at the Bund again, and admire "Shanghai By Night" from a cruising river boat. Oh, and we will be visiting a rug factory, where based on past performance I will find a beautiful rug woven with goldfish which will be too expensive to give to my buddy Robert.

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