We began our day with a trip to one of the museums I’d been most looking forward to: the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Museum. It’s basically a private collection of Soviet era Chinese propaganda posters located in the basement of a random, unmarked building in the middle of Shanghai.
You aren’t allowed to take pictures of the prints, but you are allowed to purchase reprints, of which I grabbed several. If anyone ever visits and wonders why I have large, framed prints declaring that the Soviet and Chinese are best bros hanging on my wall.
I promise I didn’t take a single photo of the prints in the museum, but I’m going to leave this image of a bunch of Mao statues right here for your viewing pleasure.
After the propaganda museum, we drove to a nearby hotel for lunch. But since it was just after eleven and we’d only just eaten breakfast, we were able to delay our final meal and wander around the neighborhood.
Everyone refers to Shanghai as an international city, to which I would agree. There was definitely a larger western presence in and I saw more people on the street who did not appear to be Chinese natives. We also didn’t get stared at as much as we did when we were in Xi’an.
Lunch at the fancy hotel was dim sum! Which I’d never eaten before. It was something new and fun to try.
I saw with our Chinese hosts, including our newest host we picked up in Shanghai. He explained how Shanghai-ese is a different dialect and he grew up speaking both. It was a great last meal in China.
After lunch we headed to the airport to say our goodbyes. It wasn’t as hard to say farewell as it might have been at another time of year, but since it was almost Christmas I was ready to head home and spend the holidays with my family.
The flight home was a wee bit shorter than I was expecting. Less than 13 hours. Which is still an exceedingly long time to be cooped up on a plane with over a hundred strangers.
I combatted the time on the plane by listening to an audio book, writing in my journal, and catching up on a few hours of sleep. I definitely didn’t sleep as much on the return flight as I did on the way to China. Either way, the flight still passed rather quickly.
I wish I could say the same for the layover.
It took forever to get through customs, and then the line for security to get back into O’Hare was even longer. That still only killed an hour of my almost six hour layover.
I ended up curling up in an uncomfortable airport chair and straight up passing out in the middle of everything with my arm dropped over my backpack and my head resting on top.
Jet leg is real, folks.
However, I had hard-core Christmas plans only days a way, so I knew I was going to have to rally.
And rally I did. Once I landed in Omaha, drove the car until it was on fumes and finally pulled over for gas at two-something a.m. only to get wolf whistled at by some guys coming out of a bar, and finally making it home and into bed at 3:15 a.m.
The next thing I remember it was 3:15 p.m. on December 23. Yes, I slept for 12 hours straight without waking once. My mom said she checked several times to make sure I was breathing and my little sister was within thirty minutes of being allowed to rudely wake me.
Either way, it was worth it.
Traveling to China was an amazing adventure that I’ll never forget. It also taught me a lesson that I’ve been struggling to accept: that my future is abroad. I thought moving to D.C. was going to be enough to fulfill my international cravings. But traveling to China proved that I was lying to myself.
On the bright side, it cleared up a lot of things about my future. If you’d like to know more, you’ll just have to keep reading my blog…
Up next: Where in the world is Hunter going now??
My name is Hunter and this the blog of my worldwide adventures. The purpose of this blog is to show that you can be a traveler, not just a tourist.