I’m in Shanghai, on the 37th floor of the hotel/apartment building I’ll call my home until Christmas (and perhaps beyond). The view is staggering. For someone used to towns where buildings shy away from exceeding a whopping four stories, to be not only visiting but living on the 37th floor is an epiphane. I am proud to say that it is the last floor in the building. (The door to the roof is locked, I checked already. Don’t worry – I always check that too!)
In case the impact was not severe enough in that last statement, I want you to be hit by the fact that I have a balcony! I adore balconies. I can smell clouds up here, I’m pretty sure, though they smell nothing like marshmallows, as clouds ought. I’d like to either play guitar or barbeque up here as soon as possible. (As you know, that translates into “I’ll sit up here with no shirt on and a beer and let my clothes dry, all tacky-like, scattered all over the railing.)
I flew business class the whole way here to Shanghai from Dallas, which meant I was treated royally by United from Dallas to Denver, Denver to San Francisco, and then San Fran to China. It was awesome. I had no idea how nice it is to stretch your legs, to have the attendants give you choices for what you wanted to eat, to have meals that include dessert. I don’t think I could ever get used to flying like that. I definitely enjoyed it while it lasted; five episodes of Parks & Rec, two of Psych, a few Jack Johnson songs, and a view of Japan and the vast Pacific from the plane were enough to make it a great day.
I was picked up at the airport by a fellow employee who was very kind and took me to my new home. Once I got everything worked out (the language barrier here is quite daunting, which is fitting, as I’m told that the policy in China on things like barriers and walls is to make them somewhat large), I got into the elevator to head up to my personal Cloud City. There was a young man in the there with me, in the mirror, and he looked at me and I looked at him and simultaneously we both asked each other “What are you doing?” to which both of us shyly smiled and shook our heads and looked to the ground with a self-deprecating chuckle and shrug of the shoulders. He looked older than I remember, which happens from time to time when we meet.
I walked into my new home knowing it would be nice, but not expecting it to be like this. As I suppose could be expected (but nonetheless not taken for granted),there is a huge screen TV, a queen-sized bed, and plenty of room for my roughly 40 lbs of belongings. The big surprises are: a fridge, dishes (including chopsticks and a super sharp knife!), a stove, a microwave, aaannnnddd a washing machine! Incredible, right?? Now you know I wasn’t joking about drying stuff out on the balcony. Sorry I’m bringing up the balcony so much. I do have to mention that I’ll randomly get this very odd feeling when I’m out there that I’ll somehow trip over the four foot railing and plummet to the ground. Or I’ll get sucked out by the wind. Do you know the phobia I’m talking about? You can’t get sucked out by a spontaneous tornado from your hotel balcony, can you? I do love random phobias – do y’all have any crazy ones?
While you ruminate on that, I’m going to go out into the streets of China and hunt down some cheap dinner…