I don’t know what kind time frame counts as the “homestretch”. Perhaps it is more of a personal landmark. What I do know is, the anxiety a jockey experiences as his horse moves into the finish is identical to my anxiety over leaving China for home. I have four weeks, and three short weekends left before I leave the land of dollar cabs and censured news for the land of the free. While I will have only been here 12 weeks, I feel I have created a life here. I have an awesome job, a budding (dare I say entrepreneurial) tutoring business (Who knew I could rock as a debate/presentation teacher), a group of meaningful and supportive friends, heck, I even have a regular street food man that knows me. On top of the anxiety I have for leaving the relationships and experiences that have had such a meaningful impact on my life, I feel a sense of urgency in the need to pack in as much of China as I can before I leave. And so, I have a running list of things I need to do before leaving China.
1. go to Huangzhou
A small city next to a big clear lake. By small I mean it in Chinese standards-population 10 million. It is said to be one of the most beautiful cities in China. On tab for next weekend!
2. Go to Huanshan
Yellow Mountain! I’m going to see what all the scenic hype is about, and why the creators of Avatar felt so compelled to cite it as the inspiration for the scenery in the movie. me and puff are going. epic.
3.One more final trip to the fake market
There are some things I still need, and a suitcase to put them all in.
4. Get a chinese medicine treatment
I think I am going to rule out cupping and any sort of chinese detox…but maybe a massage? Some acupuncture?
5. Try a scallion egg pancake
It is a really popular breakfast item here in Shanghai, and there is a woman on my street that has a line down the block for hers. It’s hard to explain, but basically it is an egg crepe seasoned with onions and spices wrapped around a thin fried wafer. They look delicious, but I am always running late so I don’t have time to wait in line!
6. Visit the Shanghai urban planning museum
Shanghai has changed so rapidly in the last few years that they have an entire museum full of pictures and architecture plans to show off just how fast it was! I would love to see what old Shanghai looked like, and how each district has changed!
7. Buy a tshirt with english writing on it
these tshirts are such gems…and I have no idea where the chinese get them. The latest one (seen by a friend) read: “wear pink condoms”….but in awareness for breast cancer. My assumption is that they just have no idea what the english says, or any concept of what is appropriate to put on a shirt. Sometimes the shirts just make no sense and read “cloudy day but I’m still delicate” or sometimes they are just strangely innapropriate “if it’s not rough it isn’t fun” (with a cartoon emoticon featured below). Between you and me, I think it is a bunch of laowais sitting in a factory somewhere creating these shirts as some sort of joke.
8. Try muay thai boxing
I really wanted to try it on a weekly basis, but I didn’t have the funds! However, they do offer a free trial session of muay thai. One of these weekends I will put my fighting skills to the test!
9. Go to Shanghai “cheap street” and antique market
While I certainly don’t need anymore communist gear, the cheap street and the antique market offer all kinds of small unique gifts from jewelry to perhaps even one of those tshirts I am looking for.
10. Visit a Buddhist temple
there is supposed to be a pretty one up north! It is definitely on my to do list. Maybe on a sunday…
11. Buy some bootleg dvds
there is a dvd “store” across from my apartment that sells dvds of movies still in theaters for 5 kuai. It also has tv seasons, and asian classics. Its very disorganized in there, but if you spend a long enough time, you can find something good! let me know if anyone wants me to look for a movie or tv season…especially if you are in my depot apartment next year! DVDs pack really well!
12. Go to the beach!
apparently there are some nice beaches to lay out in shanghai, while I am sure the water is relatively toxic, it might be nice to have a beach day!
I am sure there is more, it is after all, a running list. And I am open to any and all suggestions!