Sunday, May 07, 2006

So Long, Shanghai

It is almost 3 p.m. The sky is overcast. It is my last day here in Shanghai. I leave on the train tomorrow at about noon, and I will leave the hostel around 10 a.m. just to make sure I have plenty of time to decipher the train station signs and figure out exactly where my train is and where I am meant to be sitting.

I have just finished reading Capote's "In Cold Blood," which was good, but depressing as all get out. Several people asked if I started reading it, inspired by the recent film, "Capote." And in fact, I had not been inspired by the recent film, which I haven't even yet seen, but I think the film inspired the prominent display of the book in Waterstone's, where I bought it in Perth.

So, on this last day in Shanghai, I don't feel much like going out and sightseeing, but I am planning on going out for sushi for dinner, one last time :)

I feel slightly odd about leaving. But, I am done with the city. Shanghai is nice and all, but the dirty streets and crowdedness has worn thin (and I haven't found that many good places to eat). I am over the Bund and Nanjing Road. It has been a fine place to stay for the 10 days I've been "stuck" here. Enough days to see and do things when I felt like or just sit around and read and relax on other days. But, I am ready to move on. Yet, I think it's always strange to leave a place where you've spent any signficant amount of time. I felt quite sad when I left Lijiang, where we had stayed for four days.

Next I am on to Hangzhou, which is supposed to be beautiful. So...that shall be fun AND exciting. And I am just so excited that in two weeks I'll be in Mongolia! I think it will be great to be in Ulaan Bataar for several weeks. It seems like a small enough city that I can navigate around and really get a good sense of what it is like, maybe not ALL its nooks and crannies, but certainly a good number of them...and I am so happy that I'll finally have something to do besides being a traveler/tourist (my volunteer project.)

Well...I didn't end up perfecting my game of pool as much as I had planned (though did play a couple of decent games). And I didn't end up adding the backlog of blog entries as I had wanted. Something about standing up at the computer really deprives me of my creativity and stamina to write.

But, I met some really swell people and overall had a good time of it. And I quickly overcame serious homesickness (the day Janie and Silke left I spent looking at flights to San Francisco--thought I could go home for 2 or 3 weeks before Mongolia.) Now I think I am capable of traveling on my own. Phew. Thank goodness. :)


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