They say “it’s important to learn something new everyday”. I can safely say that travelling to the other side of the world helps me to live according to the adage! Since leaving Minneapolis on August 30th, I’ve gathered quite a few insights. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share them (and pictures!) here.
Enriching/Amusing Life Lessons:
- Never buy a sandwich at the LA Airport. In fact, avoid buying any food whatsoever there. Price = High, Quality = Low. I would prefer it the other way around.
- There are three things that might happen on your jumbo flight filled with returning Chinese citizens: 1) The noodle meal option will sell out within 5 minutes. 2) Milk is the most popular in-flight beverage. 3) People LOVE duty free.
- On United Airline international flights to China, you get to watch as many movies as you want–and you get to select them yourself. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty surprised to find out that I could finally see The Intouchables, and while flying over the ocean, no less.
- It gets dark in Shanghai at 6:15 pm right now.
- Taxi rides to and from the train/plane/metro stations can be digestively counteractive.
- While riding the metro system in Shanghai, you may eventually have to switch trains in order to stay on the same line (thank god for friendly strangers!).
- There’s nothing like hauling 135 pounds of luggage up 4 flights of stairs to prepare you to sleep off that jet lag.
- Never buy a meal on the Shanghai to Hangzhou High-Speed Train. Brown eggs and pork fat atop a bed of black, eviscerated collard greens–yum!
- Shanghai is awesome: street food, tree-lined roads, bizarre-o European architectural accents… yes please.
- Hostels here are much cheaper than in Europe, and can be surprisingly pleasant (see below).
- Do not expect anyone to speak English.
Our Hostel in Shanghai
Just Inside the Gate
A View from the Outdoor Lounge
Complete with restaurant and bar, this hostel was perfect for a soft transition. Water: 30 cents, Steaming plate of dumplings: $2.50, American Coffee: $4.
Our Bedroom: View from the Door
What am I thinking right now? Thank GOD we made it–time to sleep.