1st April: A sleepless night, it was half expected though as it was my sayonara.
2nd April: Eventually my headache subsided and I began the mad packing process. Already I have enormous gratitude to Kate, who has solved my problem for the interim: storing my crap while I visit China. Whilst packing, a smile was forged onto my face with the memory of last night's Girls just wanna have fun dance routine performed in Mac bar by Kate and Emma, both donning a T-shirt with a sayonara sticker on the back.
In the New York cafe (I still haven't figured out why we refer to it as New York New York) a handful of friends gathered one last time. After wishing James a happy birthday, 1 beer in The Shack to calm my anxiety, dropping off Steve's bike, a taxi back to our apartment, I packed then slept a deep sleep.
3rd April: This time I took the easy option - a 1300 yen bus to Hiroshima airport. I was so punctual I couldn't check in my backpack for another 10 minutes! Next I couldn't proceed through immigration for another hour. Researching my guidebook was a good idea as I had absolutely no clue what to do once I got off the plane. I couldn't help noticing out of the corner of my eye, a boyfriend and girlfriend about to part. It was such a romantic sight you only ever see in movies, I just kept on sneaking glances. The immigration officer demanded I surrender my Alien Registration Card. The plane did some interesting yaw maneuvers during take-off, flight and landing: be careful with China Eastern Airlines.
In a nutshell, I have arrived safely in Shanghai and have been for a walk down along the Bund. Super impressive architecture all over town really. Whilst walking the Bund I lost count the number of times the same people tried to sell me roller-shoes, Rolex watches, kites, postcards, photos, model cities, glowy-flashy things, but just 1 child!
I have yet to see the glamour of the Shanghai hey-days but I might hold out for things like the Museum of Ancient Chinese Sex Culture on my return. The Shanghai flickr group have some great photos from the city. My personal best so far are these:
Today, Lucy and I strolled for hours around the Shanghai Museum. Some pretty good stuff in there, and a fairly comprehensive introduction to the gigantic history of this mammoth land. One thing I learned from it all: dragons are symbols for the emporer whereas phoenix are symbols for the empress. Speaking of symbols, they do show a lot of flags throughout this city.
We filled up in a Japanese restaurant before returning to the Captain Hostel. Relaxing on the couch of the top floor bar while admiring the enormous TV across the river. We counted it to be 3 storeys high (and proportionally wide) - a bit too big for your average lounge room.