Me and Chairman Mao
  I'm outtie.
As I mentioned in my last post, today is my last full day in Shanghai--tomorrow we're off for good, and I have no idea when I'll come back. I'd like to come back in a year or so just to see what's changed, although I also know that when it comes time to plan the next vacation--whenever that might be--coming back to Shanghai, a place I've lived for an entire year, probably won't be able to beat out other possibilities, like Italy. Or Greece. Or Spain. I guess I'll see, but I have a feeling it will be years--although hopefully not decades--before I set foot in the Paris of the East again.

(Side note: It's fun to call Paris the "Shanghai of the West." Try it some time--especially with any French friends you might have. I promise you they'll laugh. The first time, at least ...)

It will be nice to go home, though. We've been here a long time--I left for Beijing on November 1, 2004--and, as usual, it seems like it has been both much shorter and much longer than that. (It's funny to go back and read my
first post, from way back on November 5, 2004. So young and naive ...) I will definitely miss Shanghai, though. Unless you live in a very small handful of cities--Paris, London, New York, and maybe Tokyo--Shanghai is a much, much cooler place to live than your city. If you disagree with me, you're wrong--sorry. But if it makes you feel any better, I'll be going back to Seattle, which, as you might have noticed, is not on the list above. Yes, truly, it sucks to me. Well, not really--I just spent a whole year living in Shanghai after all, a place that, as we just discussed, is either equal to or significantly better than your city--but you can think it sucks to me if it makes you feel better about yourself.

Anyway, on to the important things: does this mean the end of my blog? Not quite. You see, we are not going straight home: we're leaving today (June 17), but we're not getting back to the States until July 20. In between, we'll be going to Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Singapore, and I'm guessing I'll have a few comments, thoughts, observations, and what-you-will about those places when I get back. (I'm sure you're surprised.) I'll also have pictures. A LOT of pictures. Right now, I have enough camera memory to take about 1,500 shots. I'm not sure what's scarier: that I can carry around that much memory in my pocket, or that I'm actually worried about running out. I think the latter, but I'm not sure. Either way, there will definitely be some pictures. I'll try to post a few updates from on the road, but you'll probably have to live without my unique brand of insightful humor for a while. Luckily for you, I feel very confident that you'll manage.

Speaking of pictures, I figured this one would be a good last shot to use at the end of my time in Shanghai, particularly in light of what I wrote above:

So I guess that's that. Thanks for reading--it was always nice to know that someone besides my mom was looking at what I wrote. (No offense, mom. Or dad. I know you were looking, too.) Next stop: Hanoi! I'll tell you all about when I get back ...
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