Mood Ring Momma commented the other day that I needed to write posts to induce people to visit China. Personally, I believe I am a big enough draw but whatever. Some folks need other reasons to visit like fantastic shopping, wondrous sights, and mouth watering cuisine. MRM is planning on spending her 40th birthday cruising the Huangpu River on a pirate boat but needs to know there is something else to do worthy of her time and $$$; somehow flashers, squatter potties, and security risks aren’t winning her over.
Today I encountered another reason to visit Shanghai, the Mag Lev train. A magnetic levitation train that runs from a station in Pudong to the airport by the sea, it travels at 430 kilometers per hour, shrinking a 40 minute car ride into approximately 5 minutes. You might ask yourself why I ventured out on a gloomy Monday for a ride to the airport. Why indeed? Because Mr. Understanding left his passport in his coat and could not check in for his flight to Singapore. The flight was leaving in an hour and a half.
I called Princess Ai Lin for advice – car or train? Definitely the train, she said. She had just gotten off it herself and was on her way to the US to visit her ailing aunt. After explaining to me how to find Mr. U once I got to the airport, I hailed my driver V2 who was out doing chores, and headed to the train station, jacked on adrenalin. At the ticket counter I held up two fingers to indicate a round trip, ran through the turnstile and up the escalator where a train was waiting on the platform, about to leave. What luck! Patchwork plots of land with lettuce growing on them, demolished houses, industry, canals with ancient fishing boats, cars and trucks, whipped past as we sped to the airport, many passengers busily clicking their cameras as the kilometer per hour sign shot up. Whoosh! The rocking as two trains passed each other was particularly unnerving. If I’d known better I’d have brought my ativan.
Out through the platform, up the escalator, across the skyway linking train to airport, up another escalator, running, running, running, to find Mr. Understanding at check in area D. With 9 minutes to spare, he slapped the passport on the counter, kissed me, and was off again. I texted Princess Ai Lin to see if she needed a hug. She did. I found her in a check-in line for a flight to LA. We caught up on the weekend’s events as we snaked in line towards the counter, the only gringas in line for a flight to La La Land. After a quick lunch at the only restaurant available, I hugged Ai Lin good-bye and headed for the train to take me back to the Land of Tomorrow, thankful that Mr. U had his passport, that I got my weekly quality chat with Ai Lin, and that I’d be home in a Shanghai jiff. Book your ticket right now, Mood Ring Momma. On second thought, it turns out I purchased two round trip tickets for the mag lev so the ride will be on me.