8,008 km so far.
This morning we bid a bittersweet farewell to the retreat.
Then we boarded the bullet train. Speeding through the countryside at 300+ km/h is not the kind of “go slowly” approach our bike trip is usually about, but the scenes outside the window seemed all too familiar. Smog-choked air, people tending to their fields, sparse rice paddies, and small towns.
We have seen a lot of this up close and personal, and it is quite nice to be encased in a slick modern train, flying past it at great speed.
Drowning In Culture
Our ride from Chibi to Wuhan was uneventful. The second leg of our trip felt like it would never end.
The first couple of hours were fine, but there were three babies in our carriage, and about half way through they decided to begin screaming and crying in unison. To add to it someone behind us began to whistle (we think trying to calm a baby, but only succeeding in aggravating our nerves), and someone else began playing one verse of a song over and over and over again.
Jane’s note: Then there was the guy who repeatedly horked deep and disgusting from the depths of his throat, as if to add his own bass line to the terrible symphony.
This cacophony lasted for about 2 hours.
And then we arrived. Shanghai. Here we are in our new home for the next four weeks. I hope we like it here.
I Feel It In My Fingers, I Feel It In My Toes
Jane had found a vegetarian place nearby that was open til 10 so we headed there. When we arrived they told us last orders were at 9pm and they couldn’t (wouldn’t) seat us. It is Friday night at 9:06 pm. Pardon?
They offered us their business card and said we could make a reservation for another day. We very clearly told her that we would never be coming back.
There was an upside to this. We got to go to Kaiba, a Belgian bar and bistro that is on my list of places to hit in town. Jane and I haven’t had alcohol in weeks (I do not count 2.3% Chinese lager as alcohol). We have been jealously, longingly watching people drink wine on TV the past two weeks or so, and it is exciting to be in a city where wine, cocktails, and microbrew beer exist.
Kaiba has an incredible selection of Belgian beers on tap – La Chouffe, Chimay, Maredsous, and many more. Before long my toes were tingling, very much enjoying this foreign substance as it made its way through my body.
It’s good to be home.
Soundtrack: Ed Harcourt, Shanghai ♥