I've made it to China. Xingyi, Guizhou, China to be exact, in the far south of the country. If Japan was a whole other culture, China feels like a whole other planet.
As my friends would say "ce n'était pas évident arriver ici!" it was a trek! I left Sasebo at 8am, walked with my lovely backpack for 20 mins, hoped a bus, rushed hoping ever so much to make my shuttle to the airport on time. An hour later, I'm at the Nagasaki airport. Despite a great amount of confusion (I've learned to always allow time for the language barrier), I finally make it aboard the plane.
Then I arrive in Shanghai.
Words cannot express my utter disbelief at the place. The sheer vastness, chaos and blank was mind boggling, to say the least. I somehow realized I needed to change airports (yes airports, not terminals) so I nervously mounted a shuttle they pointed and shouted would be the one to get me to Honqien.
This ride astounded me. We maneuvered over and under, around and through winding highways... Five lanes one way. Cars stopping in the middle of two lanes. Honks everywhere. People pilling on motorcycles without helmets, pushing their way through the traffic. Highways one on top of the other. Signs showing the level of upcoming traffic with green, orange or red lanes. I wasn't quite sure if the haze I was seeing was cloud or pure pollution.
A stunned hour later, I somehow make it to to another side of the city. There is no way I'll do any sight seeing at this point, as it's already 4:30pm and my flight leaves at 6. Even flying above the city was mind blowing. The lights, the skyscrapers crowd the scene for miles and miles...
Finally, I arrive in Kunming at 9:30pm (10:30 Japan time) and follow the crowd correctly to reach me to the baggage claim. Looking with anticipation through a sea of black hair (surely it will be easy to spot the only white guy in the place?) I see my friend D, his eyes light up and holds a sign with my nickname on it.
I have arrived!
Only not exactly. My flight goes to Kunming, but I've still got to make it to Xingyi. Let travel in China begin...
My friends are so brave to move here.