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Shanghai Noon

The title of this post is, without a trace of irony, the title of the news program playing on the bus from the airport this morning.

My flight wasn’t bad—no, wait, it was, actually. The last airport bus leaves downtown Xi’an at 1800, and my flight was at 2255, so I got to spend several hours in the Xi’an airport (about 2 each land- and air- side). XIY is one of the unenlightened airports lacking any food options (even a token KFC “Select” as seen at PEK) not owned by the airport operator. The flight was in transit from some place farther west, which meant transit passengers had to board first (because… they have to?), which meant I spent about 10 more minutes in a classic Chinese queuing situation than I like to. Then, during the flight, the lady on my left couldn’t contain her arm and gesticulated wildly throughout the various parts of my left arm and shoulder.

Also, I arrived at 0045. After wandering around the airport for a while and driving a hard bargain, I got a generic business hotel room kind of near the airport for 150. I could have just stayed in departures, which looked like it wasn’t too bad, but I felt like I could use the shower. The room was great, except for the Lingnan-style bed and the mosquito bite just under my eye as I was falling asleep. And the cold shower. But it could have been worse, and it had a free airport shuttle.

This morning brought an adventure—a pilgrimage, really, as I tracked down the Shanghai offices of Elong to claim my ticket to Japan. I eventually got them to figure out what I was talking about and got my paper ticket (in fancy red-strikethrough quadruplicate). Beehome hostel is nice and relatively easy to get to from the subway. I finally got into town without my pack at about 3 p.m. and did one of my Stubborn Urban Hikes (I’ll go 90s on you and come up with a catchy InterCapped name: StubUrban Hiking!) from Nanjing Xilu east to the Bund, up and down it a few times until the sun went down, up and down it a few more times taking pictures, through the cheesy “sightseeing tunnel” to Pudong, and then the wrong way into several construction projects for about an hour before I finally gave up and took the subway one stop to get back.

Most things are better when they’re illuminated: carved pumpkins, ancient manuscripts, “LA Lights” sneakers when you’re in grade school… the Bund is no exception. Well, Pudong is, too, for the same reason that the night improves Hong Kong: it helps buildings cut through the fog.

This hostel does have an annoying 30 minute time limit for its free Internet, even when (as now) nobody’s waiting. This entry’s over now, I guess.

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