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Mar 24, 2013

5 countries in 6 days

That's right. This morning I left Shanghai, China for Hong Kong. I will be in Hong Kong until early
Tuesday morning and then I fly to Singapore. Wednesday, I fly to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia in the morning and return to Singapore that afternoon. Friday night , I fly to Bali, Indonesia. Just writing that was utterly exhausting. I can't imagine what the week will actually be like. Should definitely be exciting though.

So yesterday in Shanghai, I walked 20km with the Corporate Marketing team at Ecolab China and Elaine. I think I saw more of Pudong than I could have imagined. Pudong is the business center and city of the Laowai or foreigners. The neighborhoods look like mini-Western villages complete with brick homes if you're into American style homes, Spanish tiled stucco if you like the Southwestern/Spanish feel, French style homes, and all complete with a million mini vans. It's rather off putting to be honest. That becomes the issue with being in China and speaking Chinese. As I mentioned, I was with work friends...therefore the conversation was primarily in Chinese not English. Believe it or not, I got about 75% of what was said and could fill in the rest. So we're walking and talking and of course we see foreigners and we're all like Lao wai, Lao wai....mind you I'm obviously American. I have just ceased to feel that way in some respects. It becomes a very interesting dynamic of trying to navigate both around the city and in your head what you are to expect, do, say, etc. This is what makes coming back from China and reverse culture shock so difficult. For a brief moment in time, you are no longer what yourself considers yourself and you've transformed into (well at least for me) what you've always wanted...to be Chinese and engrossed in this ever changing millennia old civilization. Now, this part gets dicey because fundamentally, I will always be on the outside. I am white and therefore not part of the culture. It's nice, however, when for a few moments I can pretend.

So enough about me wanting to fall into China, on Friday, I'll be in Bali with John. This is super exciting. I can't wait to not think and just drink, eat, and sun tan. It's been so cold in Shanghai that the sudden shift to 80 degrees in HK and SEA is a bit rough. Lord, I am hot!

The skyline in HK is beautiful with tall buildings and majestic mountains in the background. Forgot about that...

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