I am home again, writing from my dad’s office, listening to the familiar sounds of the family kitchen, and full from a deliciously large American-style breakfast of cherries, waffles smothered in VT maple syrup, bacon, and sausage. I spent the plane ride back watching some of America’s best cinematography: Dr. Strangelove (or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb) and It’s Always Sunny In Philidelphia. Used my cell phone for the first time in 6 weeks to plan a (potential) trip to Vermont. Grabbed my car keys and threw on a few keychains I got during my travels. Yes, this is it, I am finally home! It’s a little sad, but at the same time, it was the perfect amount of time away.
On Thursday, before we left, we had a pretty relaxed day, heading to the markets one last time and then off to dinner. After dinner, we made our way to the Jin Mao building, where we sat down for drinks and to enjoy the view. I can now say: “One time, I was drinking white wine in the Jin Mao, the 8th tallest building in the world, looking out the window directly up at the World Financial Center, the 3rd tallest building in the world, while watching construction of the Shanghai Tower, which upon completion will be the 2nd tallest building in the world.” Okay – so it’s kind of a wordy sentence, but it’s a cool concept to think about.
The next day, our final day, we headed at last to the expos! And I’ve got to admit – in some ways, it was kind of a let down. Grant, it was huge and I only saw 1/3 of the pavilions (maybe even less, and most from the outside), but a lot of the structures didn’t exactly live up to our expectations. Canada, for example, was really cool on the inside as far as aesthetic features are concerned, but nothing about it seemed really to pertain to Canada (except you could buy poutine at the end of it… no Molson, I noticed!). Cuba was much worse. Not only was it barely about Cuba, but it didn’t even look nice. There was one small room, with a small dance floor, tropically painted walls and decorations, Mai Tai’s, and cigars. The walls were covered in graffiti, and in general it was just boring and dirty. However, Ireland and Belgium seriously got it right. Ireland was the first we saw that was not only artistic and clean, but also showcased a lot of information about what Ireland was famous for – geographic areas, architecture, their people and culture, etc. Belgium then exceeded Ireland – the building was huge, and I think breathtaking might actually be the only word I could use to describe it. Extremely creative, plenty of information, lots of effort put into making it unique and interesting, and of course there was chocolate at the end! A good combination for a winning pavilion, if you ask me. I think words can’t do it justice though, so I’ll be sure to attach some of those photos at the end of this post.
And finally, Saturday arrived and it was time to leave for home. Had to throw one last interesting trip into the mix though, of course, so we took the world’s fastest commuter maglev train to get from Shanghai to the airport. The train’s top speed reached 432 km/hr (or 268.4 mph), stayed at this speed for less than a minute, and cut the 45 minute drive to a 7 minute train ride. It was amazing to see everything pass by the window, we were absolutely flying.
And now, here I am, home at last. It is amazing how quickly the time passed us by. It feels like only yesterday that we left for Australia and now it’s all over. I’m happy though, I got to do and see nearly everything I wanted to, and of course saw much more than I could have hoped for or expected. It’s a trip I won’t be forgetting, and now it’s time to return to normal life and work tomorrow! I guess that also means the blog slows down a ton, but I think I can live with that. I’ll continue to post new photos once in a while when I have time to take them, but including commuting, I will be spending nearly 50 hours at work every Monday – Friday, then throw in some kickboxing classes and the occasional outing with friends, and I’m pretty sure you’ll see why updating this is going to become less and less frequent starting now. Hope you, who ever you are, enjoyed everything thus far, and thanks for reading!