Throughout the entire trip, I’d been nervously calculating the number of days left before we had to go home. Within the last few days, more and more people seemed to be counting along with me, and by our final day in China, we couldn’t stop talking about how little we wanted to leave.
“Try not to think about it,” my friends repeated, like some kind of mantra. ‘Just enjoy it while it lasts’ was the general theme of the day, but it was hard to keep my thoughts from straying to that dreaded plane ride home and how we’d all eventually have to go back to school and do things like class participation and homework. Well, okay, not homework, because most of us were seniors, but still.
On the whim of one of our teacher chaperones, our school’s little group headed out to see a little bit more of Shanghai before our scheduled departure. Because we weren’t with the rest of our group, we didn’t have access to our beloved tour bus, so we ended up taking public transportation for the first time! Subways in China aren’t all that different from most of the other ones I’d seen, so I refrained from taking any pictures. [Also, we were in a rush.]
Anyway, we ended up in the People’s Square, which I guess can be best described as some really nice parks/gardens surrounded by shopping centers?
It was definitely a lot less touristy than most of the places we’d been hitting on our stops, and the modern, bustling area was filled with normal Shanghai civilians just going about their day while we did our best to blend. We even did a little shopping [my friends found what was essentially a giant K-Pop-themed clothing store??] and I admittedly got Starbucks from a little bodega-ish place right out by the gardens.
After a relatively short time exploring, we gathered back together and took public transportation back to the hotel to finish packing, board the bus for the last time, and head to the airport.
Of course, the adventure wasn’t quite over yet – we spent a good hour or so running around the airport and finding weird stuff, like this fancy skeleton that I sprinted out of line to go photograph.
And then, of course, our plane was blocked from taking off [???] for several hours while we just sat inside of it and speculated on whether or not we would have to spend the night in Canada if we missed our flight. [Something that simultaneously seemed like the best and worst outcome, because on one hand, yay, more time away from home! But also, god, I missed not sleeping in the position of a cramped little ball on non-reclining airplane seats]
In the end, all was well, and while we had to sprint hectically through YVR with our souvenirs falling out of our bags – wait, that was just me – we got home right on schedule. Sorry, Canada, maybe next time.
Annnnd with that, my China trip has been concluded. It was a wild week and a half, and a great way to end my school years – but now it’s on to the next adventure!
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