Saturday, August 23, 2014

Time Traveling to the Future (Or Rather, China)

Remember when you were little and you'd be digging a hole (yeah, like you had more sophisticated hobbies), and a grown-up would say, "You're going to dig your way to China!"?

Ha, good one, grown-up!

I think that "hole phenomenon" was why China always seemed like a mythical, unattainable place. But, guess what? A couple weeks ago, I went there! To China!

I found out with about 3 weeks notice that I would be traveling to Shanghai for work. You know I don't talk about work on this blog, so I'll spare you all those details. However, I can't have a blog, go to China, and then not share the experiences I had during the couple days we got to play tourists. So, here's what we did when we weren't working. (By "we," I mean my friend/co-worker Sarah and I.)

It turns out you don't actually have to dig a hole to get there. You have to take a super, long-ass plane ride.

(And it's not just any's a plane to the future. I've experienced time changes before, but I'd never experienced a 12 hour difference. I could never quite wrap my head around the idea that, when I'd text with my family, they'd send my messages from yesterday. Mind. Blown.)

We also learned that sometimes (all the time) in China, they just cancel your flights whenever they want. So, after 14 hours on a plane from DC to Beijing, we arrived to learn that our flight to Shanghai was cancelled due to "weather." Yeah, who the hell wants to fly when the skies are clear and blue? So, what was supposed to be about 18 hours of total travel time turned into around 25 hours of travel time when they re-booked us on another airline for a flight six hours after our original flight time. That flight was then delayed 1.5 hours. So, since I'd already time-warped to be Future Lindsay I was then extremely confused as to what time it was, what day it was, and when we'd actually arrive to our final destination. The only thing I did know was that in the eight hours I spent in the Beijing airport, I was the only blonde person I saw. The only time I've felt that much like a minority was when my sister and I visited an upscale NYC bar and I was wearing a t-shirt and a pair of Clarks.

Thankfully, we made it safe and sound to Shanghai around 1 a.m. their time, which in EST time was about 1997 or something.

The hotel was very nice and had an amazingly comfortable bed which is most important. Also, instead of Bible or notepad in the bedside table, I was equipped with a gas mask and emergency flashlight in fancy velvet bags. So, that was new. 

We were in China for about 8 days, and had 1.5 days, plus a couple evenings to get out and see the city. We decided, if we were going to be tourists then we were going to be tourists-to-the-max and purchased 2-day Big Bus passes as our main form of transportation throughout the city. (We also successfully navigated the subway a few times, which made us pretty proud.) The Big Bus was an easy way to see everything and included a pass for a river cruise which was something we were advised we had to do. Since this post is already insanely long, I'm going to limit the prose and just get straight to the pictures (most of which you've probably already seen on the good ol' facepage. Here's the reprise.)
Tai chi and dancing in the garden near our hotel.
Walking around Yu Garden, where we had a traditional meal of dumplings. And also a Dairy Queen blizzard. 
On the river cruise. We were told to we had to see the city at night --Shanghai certainly puts on a show for its tourists. 

See, I told you this place was from the future. 
One of my favorite places was the Jing'an Temple, which was conveniently located beside our hotel. Not only was it beautiful, but there also weren't 25 million other people around you at all times. I wish they'd translated more signs though. The only ones I could understand said "Tourists Stop Here" at the end of hallways. I was constantly in fear that I was doing something wrong or offensive in a place of worship, but the monks waved at me, so I guess I was OK. Unless they were waving me away. Who knows. 
You have to take a lot of selfies when you are traveling solo 

Not pictured is the acrobatics show we attended which was phenomenal and included small children standing on top of other small children who were then catapulted onto tall posts, and also men riding motorcycles in a cage. We were in the front row which made it extra exciting because if the guy balancing on chairs 20+ feet in the air fell, I was a goner. We weren't allowed to take pictures because of "artistic intellectual property rights" or something. I guess they were afraid I'd go home and recreate the show myself. Trust me, friends, I have no interest in catapulting small children onto my head while I balance on one foot. I'm still trying to master standing on one foot on the Wii.

Overall, Shanghai was a fascinating place to visit and Chinese culture is like no other. The food was not my favorite, the city was crazy crowded (25 MILLION people!), and the internet censorship posed great professional problems for us; however, the incredible architecture, beautiful public art, and unique cultural experiences made it worth it. If you ever find yourself in Shanghai, take the river cruise, visit the temples, and don't eat the traditional desserts because often they are made of green beans.

1 comment:

  1. Lindsay, I love this blog!! I have no idea yet if John saw even half this stuff, but it was his preferred city. How gorgeous at night!! Patty