Thunderstorms and a high of 97 are predicted for tomorrow. We fly out of Pudong International Airport, Shanghai, at 9am, so hopefully the storms will hold off until we’re gone. In the past few days, we’ve hotel-hopped from Blue Mountain Hostel Bund to Pacific Hotel near People’s Park and now we’re at Shanghai Southern Airlines Pearl Hotel near the airport for one last night in China. The shuttle leaves at 6am tomorrow morning, and then we begin our long odyssey homeward: Shanghai to Seoul to Dallas/Fort Worth to Champaign, Illinois. Yay! I wanna go home!
For my final China post, I’m going to end with some lists. Enjoy!
1. Foods eaten in restaurants: frog, crawfish, fish balls, beef balls (no, not testicles), beef stomach, crispy shrimp, flounder, Wuchang fish, pork, pig skin, bok choi, cabbage, roast duck, green beans, fried tofu, green noodles, seaweed, tomato soup, clear soup, edamame, cooked cucumber, naan, paratha, samosas, masala, butter chicken, congee, tea eggs, scrambled eggs with tomatoes, milk bread, chocolate pillow, chocolate scone, egg custard tarts, watermelon, lotus seeds, papples (Asian pears), fresh yogurt, rice, hot dry noodles, Japanese chicken kabob, hot pot, boazi, gyoza, and jiaozi.
2. Foods eaten on the street: crepe-like pancakes with savory veggies & egg, tofu pudding, tea eggs, bananas, hang dou boazi (red bean steamed bun), rice, cooked celery, green beans, chocolate-filled pancake fish, egg custard tarts, lotus seeds, mangosteen, peach popsicles, melon, and unidentifiable fruit popsicle.
3. Strange sightings that have become familiar: small children riding on the front and back of scooters with their parents, young men walking arm in arm, tall, colorful platform shoes, dogs (with no collar) lazing about on the sidewalk, men spitting, lots of nose picking, barbershop trimmings on the front sidewalk, trash on the sidewalk, construction, people sleeping on the sidewalk on cardboard, malformed beggars, cars and scooters parked on the sidewalk, and taxis that make a U-turn in any kind of traffic.
4. Pleasant surprises: children who say hello and want to talk to me, adults who say hello and aren’t trying to sell me anything, locals who step in and help me buy something when they hear me struggle in Chinese, cheap massages, fresh yogurt with raisins and honey.
5. Number of massages: 5 full body, 1 foot, and 2 foot/neck
6. Public transportation taken: planes, hi-speed trains (Wuhan-Nanjing and Shanghai-Suzhou), MagLev train (Shanghai Pudong Int’l Airport), taxis, and many, many metro trains in Shanghai (especially line 2). Highest speed achieved on the ground: 302 km/hr.
7. Favorite opportunities to communicate exclusively in Chinese: purchasing Xiangqi (Chinese chess) for my nephews, buying one banana (instead of the entire bunch), explaining to the massage therapists while Jeff and I received our foot massages that we are teachers from the US, figuring out my exit on the hi-speed train to Nanjing, and buying red paste-filled steam buns from a street vendor.
8. Drinks in China: lots of bottled water, plum juice, watermelon juice, honey/lemon tea, honey/lemon/kumquat tea and smoothies, cafe latte, cappuccino, red tea, orange tea, orange drink, Tsingtao beer, baijiu, red wine, a blue “Hurricane,” and my favorite… warm homemade soymilk.
9. Weird/Funny moments: Children peeing through split pants on the sidewalk, attending a conference on Marxism in Chinese, the Shanghai Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, watching a fish trying to swim away down the curb on Shanxi Road in Shanghai, strange translations into English (like Caution,nip hand on escalator), and encountering parents speed-dating for their grown up children at People’s Park in Shanghai.
10. Favorite moments: finding what I was looking for or being happy with what I got instead, such as lemonade varieties, pork-filled buns, and witnessing the many, many times Chinese people were kind to me and curious about who I am.
Thank you, China!