Somewhere in Shanghai, there’s this beautiful life-size sculpture of a herd of galloping white horses. At times, it must’ve felt to our tour managers as if they were trying to corral a similar herd, only of tourists, and running headlong into other wild herds of tourists coming from all other directions. Hats off to everyone at Siemer & Hand Travel and their partner agency for this trip, Shanghai Far East Expeditions – all did superb jobs planning every last detail, arranging tickets, picking up luggage, accommodating vegetarians, getting eclipse glasses, and trying their best to keep things under control. Even when things didn’t go perfectly, recovery seemed a relatively simple matter. Hard work paid off – well done!
Some of our group departed for other destinations, some returned home, and others stayed for the extension of our trip, which involves a 3-day cruise on the Yangtze River from Chongqing back to Shanghai. Calm waters and fair winds, fellow travelers…now Certified Eclipse-Watchers, all!
My wife and I returned home to San Francisco, taking off about an hour and a half late from Beijing Airport due to a heavy downpour that made us think we might have to start considering a boat ride home instead. Shortly after the rain subsided, we boarded and waited our turn in a line of backed-up planes on the runway, and after takeoff I managed to get a shot of the shadow of our plane on the clouds below, surrounded by a rainbow – it’s subtle, but it’s there. The photo doesn’t really do it justice.
Another long, 12-hour flight, traveling eastward across the International Date Line, meant that we left Beijing at about 5:20 pm CCT on Friday and arrived in San Francisco around 2:00 pm PDT – also on Friday – arriving before we left, so to speak.
Even if we hadn’t been able to see the solar eclipse, this trip has been so rich and rewarding that it would still have been a success just the same to have seen the cultural, historical, and archeological wonders of this amazing country. I certainly am glad, of course, that we DID get to see the eclipse, in spite of the challenges presented by the weather – the suspense seemed to make it all the more satisfying. We made a lot of friends during this trip, and we hope to keep in touch. Special thanks to Dr. Daniel Gardner of Smith College for his expertise in Chinese history, enabling us to better appreciate such an incredible country.
If anyone else from our group has photos of the eclipse that they’d like me to post, send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll post them.