So before I go traveling I have about a month of doing nothing. The first few weeks flew by, with lunch and dinner appointments, friends birthdays (In Shanghai and elsewhere), and hangouts with students and friends.
But now everyone has gone back home, all the foreign teachers have left for traveling and I had my last trip to Hangzhou because I want to sequester myself away in my room and get some writing done before I too take off.
My school is like a wasteland. The usually crowded buses are virtual empty, the bustling west gate area is almost entirely shut down (and places that are still open are operating limited services, only a few dishes, or stores that don’t restock for a month or longer).
But in the rest of China the world is gearing up for Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) and things are as crazy, loud and active as America the weeks leading up to Christmas. All major train and bus stations are packed, stores are a riot of red with banners and decorations, and the streets are filled with shoppers stocking up for the holiday.
So when I need to go downtown to buy something I go from my very quiet, peaceful university to the insanity of a country with a billion plus people going ready for their biggest holiday. It’s quite a contrast and one that I’m finding jarring.