I have to disclose that I am not writing this in Shanghai. My last night in Shanghai left me exhausted and missing the comforts of home and although I planned to do this last China blog post in the morning before heading the airport, trying to cram everything I purchased into my suitcase took a lot longer than I anticipated. Packing is probably one of my least favourite things to do. I am writing this in Victoria, in the comfort of Tina and Sean’s adorable bungalow. It’s quarter after 8 pm and the sun has cast a beautiful light. It feels good to be home, not even at my actual home in Vancouver, but being on the island, in British Columbia, I am home.
On my last full day in Shanghai, I woke up early, and took the metro to the financial district (in the Pudong side), took an elevator up 91 floors to the Park Hyatt hotel in the Shanghai World Financial Center, and had a very pricey buffet breakfast with a priceless view of Shanghai. I picked the perfect day for this as Shanghai has been smoggy and rainy for the last week. There is usually a giant cloud looming around the 91st floor. For 2 and a half hours, I sipped on espresso, at one point a freshly made watermelon/grapefruit smoothie, ate a lavish breakfast, and read a book on the Kindle. It was glorious and exactly what I needed and wanted to do. Up on the 91st floor, it felt serene. It did not feel like there were over 30 million people below. Soft jazz was playing and for the first time, I felt truly comfortable in China. I’m not saying this to criticize China or my trip in any way but traveling in a foreign country, when the temperature is at least 35°C, and you’re trying to walk through the crowded streets, a little me time can be hard to come by.
After the Park Hyatt, I strolled through IFC mall and window-shopped at Celine and Lanvin. There’s this great grocery store in the lower floor of IFC and I had a good time browsing all the interesting Chinese food products. Shortly after, I headed back to the hotel to meet Robyn. She had just flown in from Hong Kong. Robyn, Phil, and I needed to do some last minute shopping before we headed back to Canada so Robyn took us to a market, similar to the Silk Market so we could pick up some fake goods. I am definitely going to miss the deals.
Robyn and I then met up with some Canadian girls who worked at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and we had some delicious raw veggies (edible raw veggies are hard to come by) at Wagas in the French Concession. A Greek salad has never tasted so good – feta! It was nice to get some Canadian expat perspectives. The Chamber have been planning a huge Canada Day event with beach volleyball and live music. The event must be pretty high-profile because all 600 of the tickets have already been sold and there are over 100 people on the waiting list.
We said our goodbyes to the Canadian girls and headed to the Hyatt on the Bund to meet Phil, Gregory, and Roro for a drink on their rooftop bar, Vue. For the rest of the evening, we had some drinks and asked Gregory and Roro a lot of random questions about China. Gregory and Roro have been such great hosts and as I write this, I am already missing them dearly. In fact, I think I have developed a soft spot for China and am also starting to miss it.
Robyn and I took the maglev train from Pudong to the airport. It took about 5 minutes from Longyang Station and we went 301 km/hour. It was pretty exciting.
Even though I’ve only been back for about 24 hours, I’ve already started planning my next trip to China. Motherland2014 is in its planning phase and China will definitely be on the list of destinations. For those of you who don’t know what Motherland2014 is, you’ll have to stick around to find out.
Xie xie, China. Wǒ huì xiǎngniàn nǐ.