Thursday, November 20, 2008

leaving Shanghai

After a good luck rub on a jade Buddha's belly, Kevin rushed us off to the train station. There would be just enough time, he told us, to grab some fast food and get some traveling snacks before putting us on the train back to Beijing.

We were all still stuffed from our huge lunch (well, Melody was hungry, but she was the only one) so we decided to go to the restaurant in the train station and get youtiao, a type of Chinese donut that you dip in warm soybean milk. I had had youtiao before, but only in the States where it is rather rubbery and tough. This fresh youtiao was soft, light and flaky. It was quite a revelation to me. While eating it I thought, "Oh, this is what youtiao is suppose to taste like!"

We were sad to be at the train station because it meant we were leaving Shanghai, Kevin and Melody. Melody had been a constant source of amusement for us. As we prepared to go to the train, Jen asked about the bathroom. Now, bathrooms in China can be quite disgusting to those with Western sensibilities so asking about the state of the local bathroom is a common question.

However, this time when Jen asked, "How is the bathroom?" Melody responded quite vehemently, "You're in a train station. In China. What are you expecting?" I guess she had a point. Ah, Melody, how we would miss her.

But as goodbye gifts, Melody and Kevin stocked us up with these traveling rice cakes with shredded meat in them, the Chinese equivalent to ham sandwiches. Very tasty, especially at 5 in the morning on a train.
A train we were soon on, waving goodbye to Shanghai. It had been a great trip; hopefully with some of that Buddha belly luck, we'd be just as lucky with the rest of our time in Beijing.