New Day Herald

Day 5 of the China Trip with the Travelers

Article imageThis is the fourth in a series of articles and images from NDH correspondent, David Sand, on the road in China with John-Roger, John Morton and 108 traveling peacemakers.

August 18

A day spent mostly in transit–flight from Beijing south to Shanghai and then a bus west to Suzhou (cities outlined in red on the map).

We board buses at 6:15 am, take our last ride through Beijing, and arrive at Beijing Airport.

Hanging out at the airport is always fun in a group like this.

Phil Danza gets on the bus mic and asks about Sarah Powell’s whereabouts. Karen Powell, her mother, who’s traveling with husband and 3 kids, tells me how it feels like an uncle or brother asking about Sarah–as though we’re really a big family, and everyone is involved in caring for the children. A touching moment for me, but not as emotionally impactful as finding some good vanilla Haagen Dazs at the airport (It’s not a totally capitalist country yet–the ice cream is kept locked in a freezer, and one attendant has the job of opening the freezer and handing me the ice cream, then walking it to the register where someone rings it up for me). One last parting shot of Beijing as we’re airborne and it’s on to Shanghai.

I have a real sense of relief, as though the hardest part of the trip is over, and a few other people tell me they feel the same thing. I experienced a weighty, almost oppressive feeling of government, history, regulation, and law around Beijing, and as soon as we land in Shanghai I feel better. We’re in a port town now, freer, more cosmopolitan. The airport is a very strange experience. You can see how we seem to be the only arrivals (at left) in this huge shiny new airport.

Some people ask if we’re in a movie set. And in a way we are: It feels as though we’re in a setting that’s been prepared for an anticipated economic explosion that everyone’s banking on, but that’s not quite here yet, and all the corporations are staking their claims and establishing their positions for when the floodgates open, and those 1.2 billion people start buying. As someone said to me, it’s going to really be something when the dam breaks–when they can transport goods cheaply enough into the interior of the country. It’s as though we’re right on the edge of it, and in a few years all those extras are going to fill the set and the cameras are going to roll. The usual luggage dance at the airport.

We see some new Shanghai highrises (seems like there’s construction everywhere in China’s largest city) while we’re on a 2-hour bus ride west to Suzhou.

At the hotel in Suzhou, Johnny hands out room keys,

Jesus barges into my shots of the women,

and we have a couple of hours free before dinner where Judi works on her animal-head karma, this time too repulsed to kiss the chicken.

A question and answer session with J-R and John is planned for dinner and then suddenly cancelled, John does some logistical announcements, and we’re off to bed.

Pamela Tarantine did the airport run in a wheelchair due to an attack of phlebitis. She’s been in her hotel room for the whole trip so far. Her legs are getting better now, and she asks for your Light and support. It’s been pouring rain a lot of the day, and tomorrow we’re scheduled for a morning pedicab ride through town.

Click here to view Children of China Special Feature

Click here to view Day 4 of the China Trip

Click here to view Day 3 of the China Trip

Click here to view Days 1 & 2 of the China Trip

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