Since I’m traveling by myself, I have a lot of time to think about life, love, family, and any other random thought that inevitably comes to mind. Here’s a small taste what it’s like to be in my head.
Take note of the “*” for further explanations at the end of this blog.
Waiting at the airport when I arrived in Shanghai
I’m so surprised that they let me through customs. That would be the worst if I got to the airport and they turned me away. I would probably cry.
Holy goodness, it’s crowded here. Where’s the luggage carousel? Too many people… must muscle my way to the front. I’m in China, after all. What’s China without cutting ahead of people?
YAY! Puppies! I know they’re drug-sniffing puppies, but aww, they’re so cute with their little faces and their little puppy ears. Must… resist… urge to pet them…
Oh man, I hope they don’t smell drugs on my bags. What if somebody planted something in there? Or what if someone had cocaine on their hands and then they touched my bags? I’ll be in Chinese prison forever. What if they put me to death? Ugh, I still don’t have a will.
I hope that the airline didn’t lose my bags. That would be the worst. I have so much stuff in there. At least all my valuables are in my backpack. What if someone steals my bag? I want a puppy.
Standing in line for the bathroom at the train station in Shanghai
This line is pretty short—I’ll be in and out in no time. Just five women in front of me and five stalls. I don’t want to miss my train, so let’s hurry it up, ladies.
Fifteen minutes later…
Ok, what’s going on here? I have to pee! Four of the women in front of me have gone in and out of the same stall, but I haven’t heard any movement in the other four stalls. Maybe there’s nobody in them? Are they out of order? I don’t see a sign.
I asked the woman in front of me and she confirmed that all stalls were occupied.
So what you’re telling me is that those four women have been in there for at least 15 minutes? I don’t care how badly I have to pee, I definitely don’t want to go into those stalls. Who knows what kind of horrors I’ll discover in there.
Then I heard multiple phone conversations happening in those stalls.
Ew, why are you on the phone while you’re going to the bathroom? What if they hear something? I wonder if there actually aren’t any toilets behind those doors and maybe they’re just playing mahjong. Awesome.
Walking around in random streets
Yuck, that guy just snot-rocketed right in front of me. If I was ½ a second faster, it would’ve gotten on me. Gross.
This air is really bad. It’s so thick, I feel like I can touch it. I suppose I can forgo running for a few more weeks to save my lungs. Should I buy a mask?
Aww, that baby is adorable. I wonder if it’s culturally unacceptable to go pick that baby up without asking. I could just pretend that it’s normal in America and feign ignorance. Maybe I’ll just pinch her cheeks. I miss my nieces.
I’m hungry but I’m not sure that I want to eat that. What’s this? Some sort of bun? Ok, I guess I’ll try it. Ew, this is awful… but I hate wasting food and money, so I’m going to eat it anyway.
10 minutes later…
Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no. My stomach is not happy with my culinary decision. I need a bathroom. Like right now. Please don’t poop your pants, Cara. That’s disgusting. Of course, I would have to buy all new clothes and throw these away. But I like these pants a lot.*
Hark! I smell a bathroom nearby!
Ok be careful. Don’t put your bag on the ground because it’s covered in urine. Squatty potties are the worst. I hope that I have tissues on me.**
Please don’t fall in the toilet and please don’t pee on yourself. Bah, I need to get out of here right now. This bathroom is so gross.***
Of course they don’t have soap in here and of course nobody is washing their hands. I’ll use my hand sanitizer.
Although there are some downsides to China, I am so happy that I’m here. I love the people, the culture, and oh goodness, do I love the food… even though sometimes, the food doesn’t love me.
I’m off to another adventure on Yellow Mountain tomorrow morning. Mom–you’ll be happy to know that the the Heavenly Bridge is closed because it’s the winter. Google that and you’ll breathe a sigh of relief.
*This is not the first time that I’ve come dangerously close to pooping my pants in Asia and definitely not the last.
**Chinese toilets generally don’t provide toilet paper. You have to buy little packs and make sure you always have them with you, lest you drip-dry, or in some cases, use a receipt.
***Chinese bathrooms generally don’t provide soap, either. It’s best to carry hand sanitizer around with you.