November 17, 2004
Trip Start Aug 08, 2004
34Trip End Aug 2005
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
I realized for the first time just what an impact location has on one's experiences in China
In some ways, I would love to have all of these aspects of Shanghai at my disposal. And in other ways, I am far more grateful to be where I am. My city is remote, my students are from the countryside. The fireworks industry, which serves overseas clients, makes English a viable means of self-betterment in the form of higher paying jobs. My relationships with the people I know are stronger and closer out of necessity, and I am immersed in Chinese life every single day. I am privileged to witness the staggering growth of a small city in the middle of China. I'm sure that Liuyang as I know it will be almost unrecognizable within the next 15 years.
My time in Shanghai passed by in a blur. After an 18 hour train ride, we arrived in the midst of a torrential downpour that didn't let up until the morning we left. After all of the conference events wrapped up, we finally had a little free time for exploring
In a moment of desperation, we went into a China Mobile store to plea for help. We must have looked totally pathetic-drenched, carrying plastic bags full of books that we had bought at the museum, dragging dripping umbrellas behind us and clutching our Lonely Planet book like it was the Holy Bible. Note to other travelers: when going to Shanghai, please do not rely solely on a 8x8 inch Lonely Planet map to navigate a city with an area of 2,448 square miles. Didn't really think that one through. The guy behind the counter who spoke broken English started laughing when we told him we had tried to take a bus. We realized how pathetic we truly were when we couldn't even say "I'm lost" in Chinese. Back to those Mandarin lessons...
We managed to resurrect the night when a taxi magically pulled up at our darkest moment and whisked us away to the Bund. We took a ride through the Bund tourist tunnel (kind of a weird Willy Wonka-esque trippy tunnel with a light show) to the other side of the river to look at the skyline in all of its lighted glory. The next day, I woke up early to walk around the Old Town section of the city, complete with twisty, walled-in streets and pagoda-roofed buildings. Shanghai is a crazy, complex conglomeration of the old and the new, traditional and Western. Ancient temples and ultra-modern sleek towers, migrant workers and wealthy businessmen, tiny corner noodle shops and five-star hotels. Definitely worth a return visit, if I have the time and the money.