Woke up to the sounds of construction, the smell of linen, and cold. The morning sky is a watery grey and as I import pictures into Lightroom, becomes a very soft diffused yellow, kinda like dipping yellow into a pot of murky paint water.
The stopover in Singapore was hot, humid, and good. Met up with Shawn and Danny at the Macpherson Kway Chap
stall, hanging out like I'm not going to Shanghai, digging into the food, seated amongst these folks having their Tsingtao beers in the middle of the day and chatting away in Hokkien. Very native and comforting amidst the massive change, it didn't feel as much as a stopover as a refreshing catchup despite the humidity.
I actually begun to enjoy flying this trip, sleeping the six hours from Sydney to Singapore, reading and watching movies from Singapore to Shanghai. And I'm looking forward to returning for Chinese New Year even if I have to pay my own way. It's strange, Singapore is always home no matter how removed I am from the place or how far away I've lived, or even how foreign my mindset has become. Or maybe it's really the luxury of not living there, and being able to visit for nostalgia and comfort that now endears Singapore to me, because I certainly wouldn't be feeling this way if I was still living there.
Arrived in Shanghai on time, walked through customs with nothing to declare (fingers crossed), met Amanda who picked me up. She's the relocation/real estate agent that works with the company to find apartments for people like me. I guess picking up jet lagged spaced out expats are part of her job description. I was surprised, I think I kinda expected ... a driver or cabbie, certainly wasn't expecting someone with her job description. Which made me feel guilty if this wasn't in her job description, but I don't know what they do here so there's no point worrying.
Conversing after 17 hours of travel is difficult. I wasn't tired, I found myself looking out of the windows as any tourist would, but having to keep up the small talk about apartments and stuff with a stranger wasn't exactly what I wanted to do at the end of a journey.
We stopped by a hole-in-the-wall selling cigarettes and pre-paid SIMs, the poor lady got up when we approached, she had been swathed in blankets sleeping on the floor. After some back-and-forth,Amanda worked out which SIM to get me, I paid for it ... and discovered my mobile is locked to Optus. Yup, so I have a SIM and a non-working mobile.
I also realised belatedly back at the airport when I turned on the phone, that Optus didn't have roaming in China. Seriously, what kind of world am I in? I can't quite work out if it's Optus' oversight, or China. Surely there're heaps of travelling business folks who auto-roam in China. I can only assume Optus never saw the need to lay down any such infrastructure for their pre-paid users.
Reached the service apartment, got my room sorted easily, couldn't get hold of Shu, so I went to bed. Woke up a few times freezing my ass off, slightly freaking out that I'm not prepared for the weather.
And here I am trying to figure out Lightroom while thinking I should have breakfast.