上海 Blog #32
Sunday June 21st, 2015
Local Time: 23:48 Shanghai Time
许悦 showed up at my door this morning with a parting gift of nicely framed artwork that will stress me a bit because I have no idea how I’m going to get it home in one piece. He was also kind enough to help me proofread a short Chinese blurb I wrote which I’m sure was painful for him to read as a native speaker. Ah well, pay back for the English essays of his I read, I suppose.
With what few meals I have left in China, we hit up the cafeteria for my favorite spicy beef noodles. Then it was on to the must do last activity opportunity I have in Shanghai. It wasn’t the Great Wall, nor the Forbidden City, nor the Teracotta Soldiers. Nope, all I wanted to do was sea a Panda bear and since SiChuan province was just a little too far away, I was more than happy to simply head to the Shanghai Zoo.
As are most things in Shanghai, the zoo was absolutely packed, particularly with what I perceived as domestic tourists because every now and then a little kid would point out to their parents that I was inexplicably “外国人” (foreigner). We got an opportunity to feed deer, monkeys and alpacas with the apples and bananas 许 had brought for them. The monkeys in particular were pretty spry and could actually catch food you threw to them which turned into a fun game and drew large crowds.
I ran into a family from Texas who was instantly elated to uncover my Midwest roots. There is always so much comradery when you run into American’s abroad. Too bad it’s not always like that at home.
I got to see a panda! An actual living panda in China! It was pretty cute and pretty great.
Dinner was more noodles at this quaint little place that served the most delicious pork. We also had to grab some McDonalds bubble tea and even caved to get some Hagen Daas. We took turns singing Chinese songs on the walk home. 再见许悦。
I met up with Gbemi and Jenny around 10pm or so for a bit of what I like to call “Balcony Closure” which basically consisted of the three of us standing around on the outdoor balcony shouting out to all of the people and things we could remember about Shanghai. We were throwing shout outs to everything from the shoe lady in ZhuJiaJiao to the metro to the picture menus to the fancy-pants pizza huts. I think we stood up there for about an hour. It was some much needed closure. 再见上海。
I’m all packed up now and scheduled to head to the airport tomorrow on a bus at 11am. Gives me plenty of time to use my left over yuan to go buy a ton of mentos for the road, one last happy lemon and a rou jia mo.
There are so many things I absolutely hate about this stupid big old city: the pollution, the controlling government, the blatant disregard for the environment, the materialism, the lack of strong interest in history unless it turns a profit, the “squaty potties,” the eternal commitment to progress without limitation or even the consideration of why. But, I think I’m always going to love it and its people anyway. I’ll be back again someday. I know it.