Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Return of the Phoenix

You know, there's nothing like a list serve to bring you back to grim reality. I was feeling a little disconnected and homesick without phone or email for three days. Got back, pulled out my iPad, checked the 124 emails and, along with a few nice notes and a ton of junk mail, there was a thread from my apartment complex's list serve. Took it five replies to turn shallow, accusatory and poorly spelled. Being connected is overrated, I get that now.

However, I have a lot to tell you and I can't wait so I'm sitting here in my silk mumu, freshly showered and feeling good, ready to write a little bit about what we've been up to.

Here are a smattering of things I can't say anymore:

I have never walked the Great Wall of China
I have never seen the snow in Beijing
I don't know how to distinguish a genuine pearl from a fake
I have never eaten Dragon Fruit
I have never enjoyed the services of a private tour guide
I have never flown on a non-English speaking airline

Fortunately I can still say that I have never puked on the Great Wall of China. Close call, though. We were short on time and wanted to make it to the highest point on the section of the wall we were visiting so we had to really hike. I don't hike. But I made it and I'm smiling in every picture.

My brain is so full of history I can barely process it all. We saw two sections of the wall, Tianneman Square, The Inner City, Imperial City & Forbidden City, The Imperial Gardens, The Hu Tong (Narrow Alley) section of Beijing, we've taken a rickshaw ride and seen how pearls, silk, jade and cloisonné are crafted. Our guide, Tracy, knew all manner of facts and figures and was brilliantly easy to spend time with. Though we weren't able to bring Mr. Li with us we were just as well taken care of.

I know that I was apprehensive about the food. I'm a little picky as an eater, not terribly so but a bit, and I didn't know if there would always be something I would love to eat. As it turns out we've eaten at places that cater to Westerners, deeply local restaurants and many degrees in between and, with perhaps one exception, I have loved at least one thing on the table and usually all of them. The food has been some of the best I have ever eaten and I'm really hungry right now and looking forward to more.

In a couple of hours, after unpacking, chilling and showering Beijing off us (turns out I had half a cold and half just can't quite take the high levels of pollution, I'm nearly better now) we're headed out to explore the Bund and walk around in the brilliant weather, should top out around 66F.

Sure, I'm still a little homesick (you'll laugh at how many pictures I've taken of dogs) but coming back to Shanghai feels a bit like coming home so I'm raring to suck the marrow out of then few days we have left. Hope you had a good couple of days. Thanks for sticking with me and I can't wait to see the Photo Challenge when I get back in range. I've got a biggish layover in Detroit, it'll be nice to have that ease my re-entry.


  1. The only thing on your list I can say is that I DO know how to tell a real pearl from a fake one, and I'm almost embarrassed to say that I learned that from Loretta Switt on an episode of M*A*S*H.

    I am a child of the 70s.

    I continue to wait excitedly for your return, and for the avalanche of pictures and writing I expect you'll be posting when you're back in the time zone. Until then, continue to soak it all up (or, as you stated, suck it all in!); the more you get to see, taste, and do, the more we get to share!

    I love you.

  2. if you can tell a real from a fake without scratching your teeth with it, then I want to know how. that is the only way I know...

    also what's a list serve?

  3. oh i cannot WAIT for pictures!!

  4. I can't wait for all your pictures and I'm really jealous. Now I want to go to china.

  5. Steph9:03 PM

    I walked thru Chinatown with Charlie on the way to the rally for women's health yesterday and totally thought of you! I am so glad to hear you are doing well & I can't wait to see all the photos when you get back.