You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

Nothing like a flood to mark a departure. I woke up this morning to a rather disturbing water-leaking-in-the-wall noise coming from behind the shower, and knowing full well that there was going to be a knock any moment to turn our apartment’s water off I did what any man would have … I jumped in that shower and scrubbed as fast as I could.

Sure enough I had barely dried when the knock came. We explained that we had no idea how to turn the water off. We added we had called the landlord and he was on the way. We then promptly called the landlord. True to my guess, we’re now waterless and I’m aware of the fact that I might not be making any friends on my flights home tomorrow.
So this is it, the last blog entry Chinaside for at least a month. I’ve stuffed my suitcase with as much contraband as it will fit, padded it with clothing (an after thought to bring clothes really) and am about to get some rest before my 9 a.m. Dalian-Beijing flight tomorrow morning.

I’ve got a crapload of baijiu, DVDs, and a couple Chinese medical devices… customs are going to LOVE me.

Them: Anything to declare, other than being a complete feckin’ idiot for thinking you can bring this stuff in here.
Me: Ah… can I offer you a shot of baijiu? DVD?

I know that it’s been proven by some of the greatest scientific minds that time travel is a myth developed to support Planet of the Apes movies (and re-imaginings), but I get such a kick out of the fact that I fly out of Beijing at 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon and land at JFK in New York at 2:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

This trip is, of course, a mixed bag of emotions. Though I am tickled to finally see my family and friends after two years of not, being away from Maggie for a month is going to be rough. I know, I know… 28 years without her, what the hell’s a month really. But having her around every day for the last 10-11 months is not making this goodbye simple.

We tried to spend as much of today together as possible. We went out for my last in-China meal at a Sichuan restaurant, and then managed to put off packing long enough to squeeze in a trip to the cinema to see Superman. Not giving anything away, the opening action scene involves some rather horrific shots of a plane falling from the sky that I could have done without. All in all, not a bad watch though. I was never into Superman comics as a kid (pretty much the only ones I didn’t buy), and I never saw the original movies … but I thought this was pretty decent. Singer seems to have a hand at making comics come to life.

Now home, with bags packed (mostly), money exchanged (involving a rather dodgy woman with a leather manbag full of cash), and all flights organized… the only thing I need to do is get some rest and say goodbye to Maggie and China for a month. Oh, and pray that the customs agent will accept a bit of 二锅头 … wait, problems aren’t solved with a few RMB and some baijiu outside of China, are they. Perhaps the lack of shower will usher things along.

10 Responses

  1. Yeah, have a good trip. Make the most of it!
    btw, what does 二锅头 mean? I’ve never heard that before, sounds intriguing! Maybe I’ll add it to my site, with all credit to you of course, teacher 😛

  2. I normally go back home every year to recharge myself, otherwise I would run out of battery and stop somewhere on the street forever.
    2 years is long enough, all the best.

  3. I see I have missed a lot. You are leaving China. I can’t believe it. As far as I could understand, you are going to return to China.

    Good luck! Enjoy your staying home!

  4. to Canada goes the humanaught,
    maggz hither Dalian sad and distraught
    fear not fair maiden
    ryan goes with contraban laden
    a good or bad thing that may be
    its up to customs to deicide it you see
    Remember when in a tough situation,
    you can always say, “not mine, that is my declaration!”

  5. I’m sure you’ll manage to get through customs! I walked it twice, complete with over 100 dvds (I did get a bit carried away with the whole piracy thing!)… the second time my bag was 26kg over the limit too (thanks to Cam shoving loads of her crap in it… not real crap, I hope you understand…) and the woman at the desk just asked me if I knew my limit was 30kg? I just feigned ignorance and she just shrugged and smiled whilst happily scanning my bag for dvds, alcohol and about 3000 cigarettes! Viva Contraband!

    What can I say, I’m just a natural born rule-breaker! Renegade! 😉

    Safe trip.

  6. I got pulled in Beijing with about a dozen bottles of Baujiu. I told the man that I was going home for my son’s wedding, and that all my family and friends wanted to drink a toast to the future of China. He let me through. In Shanghai on another trip I got stopped, and my Biajiu was confiscated. It was a bossy young girl. She wouldn’t relent, so I told her to give it to her mother.

    Have a good trip.

  7. Hey Ryan – good grief, lots has happened since I last read this! Happy engagement!! Ra ra! Very good to hear. Ahhh. Gush gush.
    Happy holiday! Enjoy the foreigness and familiarity that Canada will now probably hold for you. And watch out crossing the road – they probably don’t do it in the same death-defying way we did it in Dalian. I still catch myself crossing busy roads China-style. Difficult habit to drop! Have fun, cheers, Lorna

  8. Hey all, thanks for the well wishes .. and I made it. 🙂

    @Dan: Yeah, Dezza’s right – it’s baijiu. It smells remarkably like nail polish remover and is likely just as effective.

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