When I woke up, I had sweat right through my shirt, it was really soaked and disgusting. I guess I had a fever al night. I went straight to the train station and arrived in Shanghai a few hours later. I checked into the hotel near Shanghai Disneyland around noon and tried to find a laundry service. The good news was I found one, but the bad news was that he wanted 100 yuan for one load! I went back to the hotel and the woman at the front desk gave me laundry soap and a bucket. I did a whole load of laundry by hand. I hung it up inside, hoping it would dry over the next three nights. It was still raining, it hadn't stopped since we had started our trip in Jinan.
Just after Emily arrived, we went and did one of my restaurant audits at Wolfgang Puck outside Disneyland in "Disney Town". It really was a big let down, but it was cool to see the fireworks at the giant castle.
A mess on the bar!
Jan. 12, 2020
I spent the morning doing my report and Emily went out to see the Bund on her own. When I was finally finished, I went to the glass museum which I had missed the first time I came. It was pretty nice, but the ticket was expensive, so I felt a little fancy with all the other fancy people spending $10 just to look at some glass.
Emily told me via text that she had gone home, but I wanted to see the other side of the Bund from Pudong. I arrived exactly at 6 p.m. when they switched on the fancy lights on the other side of the river. I watched them all become illuminated one by one. It was pretty magical. Almost like I switched it on myself by stepping onto the boardwalk in a romantic movie. Nobody was there waiting with dinner for two and rose petals though...
Soon however, I was cold. I headed back home again and brought Emily some soup to try and apologize for making her sick.
Jan. 13, 2020
I had the mission of trying to buy my ferry tickets to and from Japan. I found the office at about noon and was assisted by three people in the office. They told me that if I downloaded the CTrip Chinese app, the tickets would be almost half price! They sat there on my phone with me and walked me through it. So kind. I saved a lot of money because of their kindness. They told me not to tell anyone they did that, so it must be an ancient Chinese secret.
Afterwards, I figured I needed to find a train back home in February. I knew it would be busy because of the end of Chinese New Year, so I went to the train station. I found the tickets hadn't been released yet, so I booked a sleeper bus to Qingdao, that was the best I could do. From Qingdao, I guess I'd book another train later online when I would be in Japan.
The rest of the afternoon, I spent in the M50 art district, which was cool, but most of the galleries were closed on Mondays. The Island 6 Collective was open, so I spent a good hour or so thinking about their interesting digital multimedia art.
I got back to the room, drank the rest of the wine and got super excited about my ferry to Japan in the morning. I was even feeling a little nervous for once. I didn't have a whole lot planned before I took off on this adventure, but it was happening anyway.
Jan. 14, 2020
I woke up at 7 a.m. because the people at the ferry office told me to get to the port before 9 a.m. I didn't make it until 9:30 a.m., but it was OK anyway. The two Norwegians I met the day before at the office were already there. They were smart and stayed nearby. I on the other hand needed to take three subway lines and descend into the madness of rush hour in Shanghai. I lost my poor sippy cup in the process. The day before, I had bought over 100 yuan worth of food for the trip. It was going to only be two days and two nights, but I guess you never know.
I stayed on the top deck of the boat until the city turned into tankers and container vessels. It was an unsightly mish mash of colours and shapes, chimney stacks and 150 ton cranes alongside giant shovels collecting unidentified ore from the boats passing through. The overcast weather made the farewell ominous and muted my excitement. I was happy to see Shanghai go. I wondered how many others have had that same feeling, as they watched the banks and office towers on the Bund slide by and out of sight, swallowed up by soupy Chinese fog.
I had been assigned a first class cabin somehow, and had one roommate in a room with four beds. It was really lucky.
I drank tea and ate snacks all day. I drank a lot of Chinese brandy too. I made friends with a cute Norwegian couple. We talked until very late at night the second night. Otherwise, I was just sneezing, coughing, blowing my nose and trying to finish the books I had brought. I didn't want to carry them around any longer than I had to.