Skinned my knees, like a 2nd grader, on the way to our fancy Chinese New Year's Eve dinner in Shanghai. I don’t know if it was the fact that I tripped over basically nothing, or that the waiter thought I ordered an Americano (that wretched form of coffee) rather than an Americano (a Campari cocktail on the menu), or the fact that those two things are not nearly enough reason for a grown human to be on the slippery precipice of tears — but I was on the slippery precipice of tears.
After a trip to the bathroom, in which I stared in the mirror until I had summoned enough self-awareness to laugh at the situation, we munched our way through the delightful menu.
We stared out at the delightful Jetson’s skyline from the Bund, freezing and fascinated. A glowing red egg on the table lit up our faces eerily. By the time we stopped staring I was fairly confident I had cracked the pattern of the Oriental Pearl Tower lights.
Upon realizing the subway was long since closed (whoops, always look up the last train kids), we both* decided walking would be the best call. It was only a couple miles in the middle of the night in a city where we didn’t speak the language or have any access to the internet, so totally fine.
The funny thing was that it was totally fine. As it turns out, there are some perks** to having a hyper-policed and surveilled country. The wide, empty streets were dotted with tottering drunk people, surveyed by silent police sentries every few blocks, and extraordinarily quiet for a city of 24 million.
*Kate decided. I, quite literally, dragged my feet.