Dan Dot Blog

Based on a true story

The End

Yet again, I’m writing from the backseat of a cab on my iPhone. I wish I had kept the blog going this past week, or had some way to capture my thoughts directly, because i think this recent experience has been, for me, rather singularly intense. Though I’ve underplayed it in the blog for fear of negative governmental consequences, however paranoid that may be, I have been quite sick this entire time I have been in China. it began on Thursday, June 4, when for some reason I elected not to eat until very late in the day. I believe I alluded to some feelings of fever on that day. It got progressively worse until Friday night I was too sick to sleep and gobbling acetaminophen and ibuprofen. After thinking for a bit, I started myself on a course of tamiflu in case I had flu. I was pretty sure I did not have H1N1 as the only place I couldve gotten it was the plane, and there had been no cases from my flight, so I wanted to quietly fight it.

I spent all day Saturday skipping the conference and skulking in my hotel room, reading ebooks on my iPhone. One big accomplishment of this trip has been my reading increase. I think I’ve polished off at least 4 books for pleasure, all old classics as they’re not under copyright and thus free. After my day of rest I felt decidedly better, and the next few days were the very well photo-documented jaunt through shanghai with Xiaobei. I can’t remember if I’ve blogged about her, but she was so much fun. I’m so glad we spent a lot of time together in Shanghai. Her language skills were invaluable and her companionship extraordinarily pleasant 🙂

As I’m looking at my prose, I’m realizing I’m a bit influenced by the Sherlock Holmes book I’ve been reading, so please bear with me as i struggle to cast off Watsons voice and regain my own.

Although the time with Xiaobei was a blast, it was also very energetically taxing, and by midweek I was feeling run down.

I spent Saturday in Hangzhou with my father, his friend Kathy, and Lin, who was a wonderful guide.

Quick diversion: I am getting close to the airport and a glowing light is rising scarily into the sky in a Mt. Doom-esque way. I sure hope it’s the airport and not some impending disaster. the rapid flashes from the traffic cameras don’t help either. Also, woohoo, it seems my driver does not know where my hotel now and is stopping to ask policemen for directions.

I’m arriving at the hotel and need to focus on travel now, so I suppose that’s all for today.

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June 18, 2009 Posted by | Personal | , , | Leave a comment

Going to Hangzhou

I’m in a cab stuck in traffic now. I’m headed for a nearby metro station and am now wishing I had chosen a different one not blocked by congestion as the starting point for my adventures today. I’m taking a bullet train to Hangzhou today. The public transit systems so far have seemed beautifully interwoven, and the idea that I could travel several hundred km in just a few hours and for the equivalent of $9 US just blows my mind as a native of Southeastern Michigan. For me to travel even to Detroit is very difficult via public transit. I think we could really learn a lot from the public transit here, but perhaps it is the population density here that makes this possible.

I feel guilty about this, but I’m excited to be traveling somewhere that I expect to see fewer Westerners. I enjoy meeting people, and that seems much easier when people are curious about me. In Shanghai, there are so many westerners that I rarely got a second look, let alone a smile for long enough for me to strike up a conversation. I hope my fortunes are better in Hangzhou and Suzhou.

I’m curious to see the interior of the train. I read a few reviews online and they were all very positive. The economy here is just bustling. I’m looking for a downside, I know there must be one, but so far I’m just seeing prosperity and growth. Maybe I’m just looking through rose-colored glasses, or Shanghai is some unique exception to the Chinese rule, but so far my overall impression is far more positive than the feeling I’ve gotten from any accounts I’ve heard. Maybe I’m just excited to be in a city—I felt similarly while in the Bay Area last week—and that’s what I’m actually enjoying.

June 13, 2009 Posted by | Personal | , , , | Leave a comment