This is the problem with travel: you start out with all sorts of plans for keeping a journal, giving the people back home your insight into the mysteries of far Cathay, but after a few days you just want to sleep. That’s what I did this morning, despite the best intentions to run along Suzhou Creek and go out for a bowl of noodles and dumplings. But I think I get the special Air China dispensation, which means that anyone unfortunate enough to fly on that blighted airlines gets a mulligan the next day.
Shanghai is more of a fast-moving riot of people and lights than the little bit of Chengdu I saw. We’re staying around East Nanjing Road, not too far from the Bund, where lines of colonial buildings overlook the Huangpu River and the Pudong skyline. It is just like stepping into the set of Blade Runner, with giant LCD billboards atop barges floating by as the buildings flash ads for tvs, the Beijing Olympics and everything else. The Bund itself, a raised walkway right on the river’s edge, is like the Strand in Venice, only more annoying. Instead of guys juggling chainsaws, there are armies of kids selling knock-off watches, brite-lite tops and detachable roller skates. The breeze off the water, however, made it worthwhile.
We ate at a brewpub last night, one that was supposed to have Chinese and Western food, but they dumped the former for more of the latter. After three days of steamer tray meals, hot pot and airline food, tucking into a pulled pork sandwich and curly fries was fine with me. Today, we can knock ourselves out with Chinese street food, but it was comforting to get a taste of home. I’m still not ready to try anything that says it’s Mexican food, no matter how cosmopolitan Shanghai is supposed to be.
So, what’s up for today? Meeting with some potential business partners, looking at future office space, mailing a box of unnecessary stuff back home (the souvenir books from Chengdu are great, but they’re also taking up space), walking around more in the blazing heat and humidity. Tomorrow, though, I’m running through the city. I just hope I don’t lost like I did in Chengdu. It’s one thing to have an adventure, it’s quite another when you’re doing it in tri shorts.