My path to Bhutan took me to Dallas first to catch a plane to Shanghai. The flight path was due north flying by my former home Minneapolis into Canada and eventually over the top of Alaska. I famously could really see Russia from there or at least clouds over Russia. Just a few days after the solstice, all one could see was the red-orange of a rim of light on the horizon.
Because we were so far north near the arctic Circle, time literally flew by. The first 4 hours of flight were in all in the Central time zone, the next hour we crossed 2 time zones , the following 2 hours crossed 8 zones and popped us into tomorrow and and in the final five hours added 3 more.
In this latter part, one could actually see Russia, frozen rivers and snow covered land.
Eventually we started crossing the northern mountains of China which even from the air were recognizable from what I had until then thought were stylized paintings but discovered it was just how they looked.
The sky was crystalline clear for the first 11 hours until we hit the vast Chinese plains where most of its population lives. Billows of smoke were everywhere creating a thick haze that continued to Shanghai.
The plane originally was projected to fly over the Koreas to Shanghai but there was an unannounced change of direction according to the flight map. We turned east instead continuing south and went almost to Beijing before heading SW. Were American flights being redirected because the recent kerfuffle worth N. Korea?
On the ground, I took the Maglev (magnetic levitation) train into the city. The 20+km trip took 8 minutes reaching 300km/hr almost instantly. Hmm, the Oakland BART connector train costs almost as much to go 3 kms in the same time. No comparisons, just observations.
A switch to the Metro and 30 minutes after I left the airport I was in my hotel.
The view from my room.