Back in Shanghai

After a nine month hiatus I’m back in Shanghai. I didn’t quite remember the flight out here being so long (11:45 + 3.5 hours of flying, plus one hour of layover in Tokyo). As I picked up my luggage and walked through customs, out in to the open, the familar faces of Shanghai came back like a ton of bricks, as if I’d never left.

I went to the same ICBC ATM to withdraw money from my account in China (the money which thankfully did not mysteriously disappear), then passed through the various people harrasing me for “taxi” rides, and got in the offical taxi queue. The chalky smell of the air, the bumping and pushing, and public belching, it was all there in its full and wonderful authentic glory.

I was a little worried about having to use my rather poor Chinese when I got in the cab, but as I hunkered down it all started to flow and we were on our way to Xujiahui. As we crossed the Lupu Bridge, I could see the new World Financial Center (aka Shanghai 102), which looks like its topped out and makes the Jin Mao Tower seem small in comparison. Also different is how amazingly quiet the streets are now that there’s a 200 RMB fine for honking!

Didn’t do a whole lot today once I got in; I was pretty nuked after the flight. I did go however to the foot massage place we used to frequent and used it as an opportunity to catch up about life, work, and Shanghai with some old friends. It was great to hang out and talk the same nonsense as usual. I’m wishing I had more than just two and a half days here.

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