The party's over....

Trip Start Aug 05, 2011
1
101
Trip End Oct 08, 2012


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What I did
Chicago, SLC, Dallas, Denver, Rockies... Wyoming...

Flag of China  , Shanghai,
Thursday, November 15, 2012

Shanghai,   the biggest city in the world.  The place where I first set foot in China during the previous summer,  the place that I explored closer during this past cold winter.  Now I get to see ole' "Shangers" in the Autumn.   Being on the coast gives the air a certain amount of thickness and taste.  Tonight with a fresh foggy rain moving in,  it tastes clean and unpolluted.   The bus from Hangzhou entered Shanghai from the Southwest,  once at the outskirts it took over 2 hours to cross this massive city,  nothing else like it in the world.   I grew to love the coastal plains of the Shanghai area during my many bike-rides down the Qaintang river and always remembered the taste of the air.     Shanghai is so big that it IS it's own province/state,  kinda like Washington D.C. but without the "Federal District" thing.   This gargantuan mass of Shanghai and it's surrounding cities has got to be 100 million people.  Yet a mere drop in the bucket as far as China is concerned.  The Guangzhou (Canton) area is close to Shanghai in size.   And here is where I will spend my last night in my second favorite country.    

Things back in the states compel me to return there where I am from,  yet I hope to return to the orient in the near future.   I can't imagine living without all the friendly people who have shown me quite a bit of kindness in the past 14 months.   I can easily see how some people never leave this place,   but I still have obligations and a great love for the USA,  so I am heading home and can't wait to get there.




Landed in /Chicago nearly a day later.  After riding the Chinese trains for thousands of miles,  long plane flights are nary a problem,   certainly less walking and translation hassles in Chinese and American airports.   Certainly more customs and security hassles especially in my US,  but China has some too.    I landed in Chicago at 4 PM with no sleep at all and a growing pain in my left ankle.

I had ten dollars (minus my 29 dollar shuttle fee from SLC to Logan Utah.)   so when I discovered that my plane wasn't leaving for Salt Lake until  8 AM rather than 8 PM  this night,  I was a bit unhappy with the prospect of sleeping in the Chicago "Ohare" airport for the night.

I had no money since my bank in Utah shut my credit card off due to a glitch from me being in China,  so I knew I had some dosh once I arrived there.

I did manage an excellent Big Mac and Fries like I had dreamed of for the past 6  months,  and I was so full from that meal,  I was good to last for the next 14 hours!   

ADVICE:  When stranded in a  big airport, one should immediately go to the International flights terminal.   It never closes down and there are usually a few empty sockets in which to plug ones electronics in.    I found one and a nice bench beside it,  then planned to stay the rest of the night surfing on the internet.

I wound up talking to two other travelers the entire night and learned alot from their various life experiences.   One was a 16 year old boy who was hanging out in the terminal because he didnt trust the Chicago bus station where he was supposed to wait until 2 AM for a bus to St. Louis so he could scope out a college he wished to attend.   My guess is that he was a runaway.  He disliked his parents and that was a dead giveaway.  Nice kid tho.

Once the kid left at midnight I had a great opportunity to talk to some very sick young man who was taking a flight to the "Mayo" clinic in Minnesota the next morning.  This guy had less cash than me!   He was about thirty and had some horrible disease which looked like aids although he said it was similar but inherited,   More bullshit maybe,   but he was a decent guy who was down on his luck since he couldnt work.   He was a history afficionado which gave us 8 hours of decent discussion about the Roman Empire.   Since I was currently reading about "The Decline of the Roman Empire" by Gibbon,  I had very much to discuss.

He left to to flight and I had a giant breakfast burrito at a Chicago-Airport Mexican place which was like a taste of heaven.   I headed for my flight after 50 hours without sleep,  it was like a dream and in small jet crossed the Rockies in a few more hours and deposited me at Salt Lake City International,  where I have been many times before.

After many months in foreign lands I finally felt like I was home.   Just a mere two hours van ride to Logan Utah,  and I could rest at my friend "Mikes'" house for a week or so.  Nice to be back in the USA!!!!!  Nice to have a friend to put me up for awhile.



Hung out in Utah for nearly a week and got some of my old possessions squared away.   Nice to see the old town again and see a few old friends,  but DFW is my true home and I had a burning desire to be back in my home town.  So I booked a ticket to the great state of Texas and the happy city of Dallas.

   Once in Dallas,   I got to catch up with my parents,  see some old friends,  and do some major bicycle training! 

   I became quite strong during my month there but since I am between teaching jobs,   I decided to spend a bit of time in Colorado with my oldest friend who happened to visit Dallas during my stay there.   He had to visit his parents for a few days then we were off to Colorado with his giant German shepard "Vog" who became the highlight of the entire trip!   We crossed Colorado and back over a few days,  including a couple 12000 feet mountain passes which where the highest Ive ever been while standing on the earth!    5 days after leaving Dallas we arrived at night in his grand old set of cabins,  in Buffalo, Wyoming.     We are quite close to Montana at this point and the fact that there are fewer residents in Wyoming than any other state is apparent to me.    I love this wild and desolate looking country.  Buffalo is the gateway across the rugged "Bighorn" mountains where peaks of 13000 feet are not unheard of.   Many pass through here on their way to Yellowstone National Park.


For now Im just chilling in one of Chuck and his excellent wife Melissa;s lovely log cabins,  enjoying the, wilderness, the  free internet, flat screeen TV, hot tub ect..  The small town is quaint and friendly as well.   I am doing a little work for my friend,  while searching for my next overseas job.   I surely will keep every reader posted.   What can I say?   Life is good at age 49.  Just one experience after another.  Just avoiding the wish for a place to finally settle down.



 
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