After returning from Bangkok, I spent the Monday running round Shanghai picking up suits, shirts, and last minute presents from the fakes market. The last task was made more difficult by the sudden collapse of the market, which is now not allowed to sell any of the good stuff: Ray Ban, Chanel, Paul Smith; you name it, it’s now gone. Which is annoying, but I guess it’s a reminder of the changes that are happening in China and how quickly these modifications are coming about.
On Monday evening I left for Huzhou to pick up my suitcases and stay overnight. I met Leslie, the foreign co-ordinator at my school for a final meal – we had Japanese – before picking up my stuff and heading back to the hotel.
On Tuesday I continued the travelling theme, marching across Shanghai with two suitcases. Travelling in China can be a struggle at the best of times, largely due to the Chinese themselves, who have no patience, manners or general clue when it comes to organising public transport. One particular annoyance is on the metro, where everyone barges on / off as soon as the doors open, as if the train will leave with all the people left on the platform. On more than one occasion yesterday I went full throttle out of the door, barging past people who were trying to knock me over in the rush to get on. I will not miss this.
Once I had picked up more shirts (they had not been finished – cue another wait whilst they sowed up the sides), packed my bags, posted a letter and checked in; I was able to enjoy the final evening in China. For my last meal I went to a small restaurant close to the hostel and enjoyed: fried pork noodles, small Wantons and some fried dumplings (nice and healthy then). It is a measure of how little I have learnt since being in China that when I ate my first dumpling I took one bite, sprayed boiling hot meat juice all over my face and hands and subsequently dropped the dumpling on the floor. Everyone definitely noticed, but they were polite enough not to laugh. Afterwards I strolled around the finance district, before heading back to the hostel for the night.
Now in Shanghai airport for the final time, drinking coffee and waiting for check-in to open. I will write one more post on the plane summarising my time in China, then that’ll be it for this series of ramblings.