Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bound for Shanghai! Farewell, Western World...

This time tomorrow, God willing, I'll be high over the Pacific Ocean, bound for Shanghai, China. Shanghai is the biggest city in the world by population. Home to 23 million souls. The entire population of the state of Oregon could not occupy even a fifth of that city.

As an experienced traveler, one thing I know for sure. Whatever preconceptions and ideas I'm carrying around will shatter on impact with the reality. That's one of travel's most sublime rewards. As Mark Twain said: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

Yesterday, I discovered that I needed a travel wallet to contain my passport, credit card, and tourist visa that I could wear under my shirt. (They're essential for passport-clinging Americans.)

Maty took me to the mall. She knew where to look. We went through Ross and Radio Shack and I was starting to think we might not find one. But Maty would not give up. And, of course, her instincts were right. We found exactly what I was looking for on the far wall shelf in Marshall's. It was the only one they had, and it was hidden behind a pile of women's handbags. $4.99. Maty has few rivals when it comes to shopping skills.

Farewell din-din at Nikola's on Broadway
From the mall, we went to Nikolas on Broadway for my bon voyage dinner. I had kibbeh, she had lamb shawarma, and we shared baba ganouj appetizer. Our triumphant supper was tinged with sadness because we'll be apart.

That evening, and again today, my pretty little Rose City was basking in Sol's glory. The gloomy times seem far away.

It's so hard to leave when she's like this.

China, I come.

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