Well, after a hazy 15-hour flight I’ve landed in China. It’s weird to be in a country where I can’t communicate at all. I feel like I’m missing half of the experience! I suppose that comes from talking to everyone everywhere; I’ve set a chatty standard. Shanghai is massive. I can’t get over how much city is here just from what I saw coming in from the airport. The few people I’ve encountered are a little restrained, which I’ve heard is typical for strangers in China. I just hope my mini reading session on Chinese etiquette will see me through!
The airport was wildly efficient, and I had to laugh at Colin who emailed immediately to find out if I landed on time. Checking in with Dave for his Monday morning when I’m about to go to bed feels bizarre. We’re planning a Tess Skype date soon – here’s hoping we can coordinate all of our schedules!
Driving into town, I was also struck by the little things: how much the airport resembles a giant version of Montreal’s, Chinese characters for the car names (ford explorer, for example), how the smog/mist/rain kills the light pollution, and how this city is a city like you’d find anywhere in the world. By that I mean, as I look out across part of downtown, I see skyscrapers and highways, street lights and billboards. I can’t read anything and the architecture is more exotic, but the street signs are bilingual and I’m pretty sure I could find my way around. That’s a relief. It’s also surprisingly quiet.
I got upgraded at the hotel (sweet!), and Colin and I had a quick supper before heading out for a short walk. By that time, dad was back – so we all hung out for a bit. His experience here is broader, and it’s neat to hear how he’s seen the city/country change in the last few decades. Now I’m tucked in and happy, but can’t quite bring myself to close the drapes. Check out the view!