Wednesday, May 1, 2013 – Shanghai
Last day in Shanghai. First thing, we went to the tissue market to pick up the suit. Then we stopped by the food alley for tofu.
Chris got “half” stinky tofu and I could only stomach 2 pieces. I can’t stand stinky tofu! We also all had veggie dumplings. Chris claims he didn’t want any, but he ate his bowl. They tasted really good, but hot! We all almost burned our mouths.
It is such a lovely day we decided to walk to the French Concession and have coffee. It was definitely holiday season, even more crowds than usual. All the sidewalks were choked with tourists. Mostly Chinese tourists of course. We still stuck out. We ended up at a Starbucks. Of course, where else? We then continued walking to the Bund. We didn’t have much time at that point before we had to head back to the airport, so we briefly took in the scenery before getting a cab back to the hostel.
We were about to set off for the metro, when a cab pulled right up front to the hostel. We all took it as a sign. The driver said 185 RMB (33 USD) and Chris had 230 on him, so we had just enough to afford it. It is a helluva lot easier.
We flew along, there wasn’t much traffic at all. Only an hour, that’s very quick. We started at the city skyline, our last chance until who knows when. We could still see the Financial Center and the Jin Mao tower, even 40 kilometers out. It was a clear day.
On the flight:
We made it! We are on the United flight back to LAX now.
We got to the airport around 17:30. Our friend who is a dispatcher for United had emailed us that the loads were pretty tight, so were not sure at all that we would make it. Standby travel is always a gamble.
We are lucky, we are sitting together in the emergency exit row. While it was fantastic, the vacation was intense and took a lot out of both of us.
And now we proceed to travel back in time.
Can hardly remember sleeping in a soft bed. Don’t think I could ever get used to those horrible hard beds. But the floor toilets, now that wasn’t so bad by the end. Any functional toilet’s better than nothing. But it’s nice not to be pushed along in a crowd. Nice to blend in once again, not be so openly stared at anymore. No more eggs, back to being 100% vegan. No more accidentally ingested pork or complete illiteracy.
For Chris: back to normal life. For me: back to unemployment and being a writer.
December 20, 2013 – Portland, Oregon
I relived my adventure typing these words out from my hand-written travel journal. Often I click through my many folders of amazing pictures saved on my computer. I enjoyed putting the words and best images together for you in this month of blog posts.
A special thanks to bloggers and readers who stopped here for a look, especially cewinta, myhongkonghusband, Sun and VisitSiena.
For me, travel has immense transformative power. Only falling in love or the death of a loved one is more life-changing. You can read about a place, study its customs and language, but there is no substitute for going there and breathing the air, walking the streets and witnessing the sunset. I cannot recommend China enough. Too often, we lazily rely on stereotypes and vague myths in judging a place we’ve never been. Go there and make up your own mind.