Asia | China | Shanghai – Last day in China
Today is my last day in China. The cold I got from Urumqi worsened, and my friend John gave me a medicine called black and white, consisting of two pills. Short of being an excellent doctor, he didnt realize until 12 hours later that the black pill was supposed to be taken at night.
So I went to the outdoor mall like a zombie, drugged and shivering from the rain. Having traveled in the outback for 2 months, the variety of merchandise on the stalls was overwhelming, and I started buying as if my goal was to empty my wallet by the end of the day. Two hours later, I returned with the most expensive piece of junk I ever boughta backpack whose aluminum frame actually bent when I lifted it up by the shoulder straps after filling it with my luggage. The drowsiness was just starting to clear by then, and I realized how ridiculously I had just acted. Not only did I pay twice as much of most of the stuffs worth, I didnt even want most of it in the first place. No wonder all the vendors were so friendly to me when I walked away from their stalls.
After having a good laugh at my expense, Johns sense of guilty finally returned. To take my mind of my own stupidity, he took me on a stroll along Hengshan Lu, a strip of high-end bars and restaurants frequented by Shanghais rich and famous, as well as the expats. Fashionable people sat by the windows and the classy décor formed the background image. Looking from the dark and quiet street, it was as if they were illusive characters in a film that had already yellowed with age. Once the film industry capital of China, Shanghai strutted its way from a small fishing village a hundred years ago to todays glamour and glitz while shrouded in a dreamlike air. Without it, Shanghai would not be Shanghai.