Oddly enough I get bouts of nostalgia-or is it a deeply buried desire to return to the motherland?- for China and I find myself wanting to return after a few years. I definitely consider my American upbringing as an integral part of my identity, so it’s not homesickness when I miss China. I’m not really sure how to explain the feeling, since it’s not like I completely feel at home here either. People can definitely tell that I’m not from China, even before I open my mouth. My clothes, my size (I’m taller and heavier than a good majority of the population, both male and female), and the way I carry myself all betray the fact that I’m an outsider. I guess I just associate the sights/smells/tastes/sounds with my family and their history, and I want to bring out the Chinese side of my identity once in a while, since my American side is definitely the dominant one.
On a side note, I think being in a taxi is the only thing scarier than walking in the streets of Shanghai. Taxi drivers are special breed of fearless souls that have a magical power to squeeze and swerve their car to suit any traffic situation. Any country I visit, I’m always awed and amazed each time I come out of a taxi unscathed, since there’s usually at least one instance of me thinking we’re going to have a head-on collision. The one nice thing about taxis here (and it could be true for other taxis elsewhere but I don’t usually take them so who knows?) is that there are touch screens on the back of the front passenger seat, so if you’re stuck in traffic (as is frequently the case here in Shanghai), you can amuse yourself by playing games or taking surveys.
This week’s batch of pictures features pictures of what I’m sure you’ve been waiting for: food! But don’t ask me to tell you the name of everything, because I don’t even know myself. I just eat and appreciate what’s placed in front of me. Haven’t come across anything exotic so far; the most unusual thing I’ve eaten during this trip is some part of a pig’s intestinal system, which is very tame by most people’s standards, I think, as far as “exotic” goes. I’m not really in an area where fried bugs and pickled birds are the norm, so I think I’ll be hard pressed to eat something that will really impress everyone. Oh, and I threw in a couple of pictures of Shanghai by night, but my camera doesn’t really do it justice. There’s neon lights everywhere, and even office buildings often have a show of rainbow lights flashing and changing on their towers.