Jun 19, 2012

crowds, margaritas, and a fabulous waiting room.

My friend Hannah needed to take a jaunt up to Shanghai to visit the embassy and a few of us decided it was the opportune time for a, "girl's night." 

We made our way in the rain to the train station and booked the next train to Shanghai. With the new highspeed rail between Shanghai and Hanghzhou, the ticket price is higher, but there are double the trains running each day, so booking in advance isn't really necessary any more. Nice. 

no such thing as personal space in China. 
Shanghai never disappoints. I like that city more and more the longer I live here. I used to scoff at it as, "not Ch.ina," and, "consumer obsessed and mean." Now I find comfort in the vast array of Western restaurants and commodities available. I find the hustle to be fascinating, and I appreciate the shopping choices that put Hangzhou to shame. It's the perfect get away.

We made our way to the best Mexican food in China - Cantina Agave in the French Concession and gorged on vegetarian burritos and mango margaritas. The salsa bar made us want to cry. Mango salsa. Corn salsa. True happiness.

salsa coma's
 After some mishaps with our night's accomodation (a key broke in the door knob), we found ourselves in a 30$ a night hotel. Thank God for the iphone. Not sure what I did without it for 3.5 years. We pushed two double beds together and awoke the next morning for the embassy.

Let me tell you - the American embassy is a happy place. The waiting room is quiet and people behave. There is a kid's area with a chalkboard and toys. There is a magazine rack and a free book basket. There are pictures on the walls and the bathroom is clean. There is a water machine with large paper cups dispensed from the wall. It is carpeted and the seats are cushioned.

Hannah and I looked at each other and had a, "America is a wonderful country," moment. Our culture values comfort, personal space, and order. And the embassy is like stepping into a dentist's waiting room or a nice office space in America. It is a pleasant space. Gosh I love America.

I sat and people watched while Hannah got pages in her passport. Interesting stories are to be found at the embassy. There was a divorced white dude marrying a heavily makeup'ed Chin.ese woman. (never the other way around). Two Chi.nese people who had a baby in Charlotte, NC and thus the child is an American citizen. (this is becoming more and more popular to time pregnancies with work trips to the US, bring the wifey, and get an American baby. Jackpot.) There was a man getting papers notorized for land he just purchased in New Hampshire.

The line was hours long for Chi.nese people waiting for American visa interviews. I tell you what, if you are an American, you are so lucky. And if you are an American who does not travel, you are wasting your precious priviledges granted by the international community. It is so, so hard for a Chine.se person to get to America. It is so, so easy for an American to get to Ch.ina.

Speaking of American's getting to Chi.na...

My mom arrives in less than 24 hours and I made a trip today to the import store to get ready for her....

I'm an enabler. 

The trip to Shanghai was fast and great. Great food, great company, and one fabulous reminder of home sweet home.

Can't wait for mom to get here and bring some American vibes with her!

walk slow. xoxo. 

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