I woke up a little before 5 AM and was greeted by a sheet of white. Waking up from jetlag lacks any of the grogginess that is usually present in a normal sleep cycle, and, fully alert, I climbed up into the window alcove to discover that I could not even see the street 30 floors below. The neighboring building was only barely visible, the northern corner being the only thing at all visible through the window. I did my best to fall back asleep.
I ended up actually getting up at about nine o’clock, which is pretty good for a 12 hour difference. The household staff was already there and was happy to see me; they always get dibs on brushing the rust off of my chinese, and they do their very best to scrub vigorously. It is a shaming experience, but I always end up learning, or re-learning, a phrase. This particular one was “bai yun, lan tian” or “white clouds, blue skies.” This was in reference to the weather in DC and we were all in agreement that it was a fairly poor descriptor for Shanghai.
I then did what I do best and most often in Shanghai, which is take my bicycle out for a spin. I rode over to the Bund, which was almost not worth it because the haze and fog – hog. When I headed back home, it started to rain and my clothes slowly began to suffocate me. By the time I got home it looked like I had jumped in a swimming pool, even though the rain never got beyond a light drizzle.
I later headed out to the airport to pick up Evan, the giant amongst giants who will be my companion for the next several weeks. It took a little over an hour door-to-door, but i was forced to ride the maglev. The man sitting across from me spent the entire 350 km/h ride vigorously rubbing is belly and sighing softly to himself. When I did get to the airport, I sat and waited for Evan to pop out of the arrivals door, only to discover that he had been sitting, waiting for me for about ten minutes. Which was about how long I had been waiting for him. I had just missed him. I took him back through the sweaty weather and he got his first taste of what it would be like to be the object of attention everywhere he goes.