I ended up in Shanghai very much on a quick decision. People that I had met in Beijing were flying out of Guangzhou in a few days, and were planning on stopping in Shanghai first. Given that I did not have a hostel arrangement worked out, there wasn’t much to be lost by going for broke and hopping on a train. There is a huge amount more to that story, but please look for it tomorrow, as I think it deserves a bit of time to lay out in a proper fashion.
It is strange to be coming back to Beijing alone, where just two days before I was with such a large group. And in the end, this is one of the more drug like qualities of solo travel. You meet people, you leave people, and the process repeats. Known friends lead to new friends, new friends age into well known friends and that great circle just goes around. It’s all well and good, but I would like something a bit more stable. This will come in time. I miss my family, my girlfriend, the people I have just left, and the reality shift between Shanghai and Beijing could not be stronger- I think it is not dissimilar to leaving Manhattan and finding yourself in Albany.
But between all of that mess of feeling, I’m quite sure that Beijing is where I should be. Without going in to detail that will most certainly be repeated in tomorrow’s post, Shanghai is a China anomaly. Had I simply been dropped off in a blindfolded test, I would not have immediately placed it as a city within the PRC. Someday, I would be glad to live there, but for now, I think Beijing is a more appropriate choice.