As usual, I woke up early yesterday. Packing occupied most of the morning. Then, Cai Hongxin came to my apartment and we chatted for a little bit. He brought me and my parents to tour the other bank of Qiantang River, along the new developments. We had a wonderful time visiting the Nine Creeks and Longjing regions and the Liuhe Pagoda. His wife and daughter joined us for lunch amidst the tea plantations.
The area remains the same as I remembered. The last time in this region, it was during my rotation here as a resident, and some of the young adults from the local church brought me here on a bike ride. There seems to be more people, though, and more cars fight for the right of way now. But, the neat rows of cultivated tea plants along terraced hills are timeless.
From there, Cai Hongxin and I went to the West Lake Guqin Association, and his wife took my parents shopping. I bought some strings and an instrument case. After leaving the stuff in his car, we climbed up the nearby peak for a few of the lake.
Drs. Shi Peihua, Gary Botimer, Zhao Xing and his wife, my parents and Cai Hongxin’s wife joined us for dinner at a quaint restaurant set in a rennovated section of old town.
This morning, I saw my parents off on their flight to Hong Kong and finished packing. Rain poured down on the streets, cleaning the dust-laden air. I have my usual breakfast of toast, tea eggs, cereal with milk, and coffee. My driver picked me up at 8:00 and we headed to Shanghai Pudong Airport. Security seemed less stringent than previous years.
Now in flight, I found an open seat at the bulkhead, both the window and aisle unoccupied. It’s nice to have room to stretch out. Having just gotten over jet lag, it’s time to experience it again; but this time, it will be at home.