China Diary:
Good Bye, Shanghai

[Returning to Shanghai] [Spring Festival] [Chinese New Year] [Fulbright Mid-Year Conference] [Back to School] [Back Online] [Into the Heartland] [Ancient Capitals] [Judeo-Christian Holidays] [From Albany to Zurich] [Yellow Mountain] [Loose Ends] [Hello, Debbie ... Goodbye, Debbie] [Southern Capital] [Tropical Tour] [Unwinding] [Farewell Banquets] [Winding Down] [Good Bye, Shanghai]

June 21: Getting Prepared – I meet Terry from USIS for lunch, bringing along a box of journals for my fellow Fulbrighter in Beijing. We go to O’Malley’s for some Western food and Irish brew. Afterward, I head back for campus and pay (again!) for my Internet account which ran out of money. Next, I pick up the last batch of my name cards. Finally, I stop by for my final local haircut and massage. I have dinner with Kathleen, Mark and Savannah a few blocks away where I have not been since first arriving. It is good and very inexpensive. I should have explored more locally.

June 22: Finalizing Projects – I spend the morning trying to read through an MBA thesis I have been supervising all year. After lunch my two friends from Bao Steel come over and we discuss how to proceed with writing our case and continuing my involvement with the company in the future. Gay invites me to dinner along with Johan from the Nordic Center and his girl friend. We go to a restaurant next to where I was last night, and again it is good and inexpensive. We discuss trying to maintain the momentum and, once again, continuing our projects into the future.

June 23: TV Movie – I head downtown to a church, my new suit in hand which I will wear for the third time. I have a role in a wedding scene which ends the TV series I am in. In it, I congratulate my "ex-wife" on her third marriage, give her my newly-published philosophy book as a wedding gift, and say good-bye to her. For dinner, Jade invites me to join her and Iris, a colleague from my home institution who is in town for a conference. We go to the Bund for a leisurely meal and chat which we continue in the Peace Hotel. After, one of MBAs comes by to join Jade and I, and we three go to a disco for a couple of hours before heading home.

June 24: Packing it in – The rains begin to fall. The shippers arrived this afternoon, packing most of my stuff for a slow boat from China which will bring it back home. For dinner, Dietlinde hosts a farewell dinner for us foreign experts with cooking by a local Chinese couple. I leave early to meet Gay downtown, who departs tomorrow for Hangzhou, so a couple of Fudan colleagues engage in some nighttime celebration first at the Peace Hotel’s Jazz Bar then at Paulander’s.

June 25: Final Shanghai Tour – The rains continue to fall. I first check my e-mail using Maurice’s Apple, then go to the shippers and pay my $1,200 to send two-and-one-third cubic meters to Albany. I now have the day free to catch the sights I have not yet seen. Shanghai has always been a hotbed of political activity. Chairman Mao published his political rhetoric in a Shanghai newspaper after it was rejected in Beijing, and he even launched his Cultural Revolution from here in 1966. His wife was a one-time minor actress from Shanghai, and the "Gang of Four" made their last stand from their power base here. Many of today’s political leaders in Beijing hail from Shanghai. It is also one of the largest and congested cities in the world, but while many old buildings are making way for modern skyscrapers there are still plenty of places to visit. The Yu (Jade) Fo Buddha Si (Temple), known for its two carvings from white jade, is one of Shanghai’s most important Buddhist temples. The six-and-one-half foot, 455-pound sitting Buddha is the largest in the world. Sun Yat-sen is considered the father of the Chinese Republic, and his former residence (and now museum) is in the French Quarter, as is Zhou En-lai’s former residence down the street. Nearby is also the site of the meeting of the First National Congress of the Communist Party which was held on July 1, 1921, the date designated as the "Anniversary of the Founding of the Chinese Communist Party." Thirteen Chinese delegates attended, including Mao, as did two European Communist representatives. The final session was on a boat in South Lake after the French cops broke it up. (They were finally driven underground after the 1927 striker massacre in Shanghai.) The museum is interesting because it shows the events leading up to the revolution. The tomb of Lu Xun, the founder of modern Chinese literature and China’s foremost twentieth-century fiction writer (as well as iconoclast and revolutionary), is in a local park and his his residence is nearby. The Ohel (House of) Moshe Synagogue is in the former Jewish ghetto and I chat with the Chinese caretaker who grew up in the neighborhood. Shanghai owes much of its turn-of-the-century prosperity to Mideast Jews whose factories, banks, trading houses, and even Peace Hotel built Shanghai into the "Paris of the East" (some got their start in the opium trade). These Jews were followed by East European Jews fleeing the pogroms and Bolshevik Revolution, and later Jews escaping from the Nazis. There is a plaque commemorating the shared misery, ancient civilizations, and respect between Jews and Chinese. I make all these stops today, as well as wander through some old private residences. By evening I get more contemporary by stopping at Fuxing Park for dinner and the former private gardens of Mr. and Mrs. Chiang Kai-shek for drinks.

June 26-27: Weekend – Jackie and Amy invite me to their place for dinner, and for my last Saturday night in Shanghai I take them downtown to hit Jurassic Pub, the Cotton Club, KK’s, and the all-night pubs on Ju Lu Lu. Sunday morning I am in my office trying to finish reports and grades. Mark and Maurice meet me at the Favorite Restaurant for lunch. In the afternoon, I am still running around doing errands. While I managed to give away the rest of my presents during these last few weeks, I still have some odds and ends to dispose of. My mountain bike is now rusty and falling apart, but I promised Jade when we purchased it that I would give it to her when I am through, so I keep my word. (Debbie already gave her bike to June.) I give the rice cooker, frying pan, and the other kitchen supplies and iron to June. I give Francisco my basketball. The clothes I did not send back go to local folks who are truly needy. I work late into the evening, getting grades and other things done. Eventually, I make it to Mr. Pizza. The rains keep on coming. I am home just before eleven but the gate is still locked.

June 28: Farewell, Shanghai – I soak in the tub, say my good-byes to my Fudan colleagues, drop off some mail, and electronically submit my Fulbright report. The grades I saved on disk the night before are no longer on the disk, so I must recreate them. Eventualy ... I have lunch with Kathleen and Maurice. I finish packing, then am off to the train station. It was great living with all those friends from different backgrounds and places. Being human we had our occasional difficulties, but overall many of us were close for nearly ten months and they took Debbie in for the four months she was here. Now we are slowly departing, heading for different futures. A few are sad, some are nervous, others are just plain relieved it is over. As for me, today I leave for a six-week "extended tour" of China with my backpack and duffel back loaded with books and Chinese language tapes to study on the way.

Kathleen, who has already traveled extensively through China, plans on visiting Xi’an and Tibet before returning to Baltimore where she will teach again at Notre Dame College of Maryland after a seven-year hiatus. Maurice just came back from spending ten days in Yunnan, and will now return to Berkeley to teach for the summer before heading back to Columbia University to try to complete his linguistics Ph.D. Linda already left for Appalachian State University to teach summer courses and will begin law school at American University this fall. Mark got a full scholarship to the University of Denver’s English literature Ph.D. program and Savannah will meet him there later this year after her exams; they will then have six months to get married or she must return to China. Renny plans to go back to Maryland and meet A.J., then work for a short time before returning to China next year to continue his teaching and studying, perhaps in Beijing. Jade enters the Graduate School of Public Administration at my home institution on a full scholarship this fall. Some of us living along the U.S. eastern seaboard (Vermont, New York, Maryland, DC, Virginia) promise to keep in touch and we talk of our occasional reunion. David left for California a couple of days ago, but will return to Shanghai in the fall and hopes to get a job designing Web pages. Arnaud and Sabine will return to France for the summer and hope to again teach in Shanghai next fall. Dietlinde returns to Germany for the summer and will come back to Fudan next fall for her third consecutive year here. I do not know what happened to Nikolaeva, but then again she did not speak English so no one really got to know her; I did see her leave one morning a few days ago in a van, and perhaps that was her ride to the airport. June saved enough money from her English language school to study for the GRE and TOEFL exams in Beijing for the summer, hoping to get into an American university next year. I have not heard from Yoshi since he left for Japan in spite of sending him a couple of e-mails. As for my students, Carrie is going to Michigan to study for her Ph.D. in business and Fenwick will go to Boston University to study for his Ph.D in business; both are within range of Albany. My T.A. Jackie wanted to study for his Ph.D. at Albany, and perhaps will apply there this year. Meanwhile, he will continue his doctoral studies at Fudan. Francisco along with three other MBAs started their own company to export telecommunications equipment to the U.S.

[Returning to Shanghai] [Spring Festival] [Chinese New Year] [Fulbright Mid-Year Conference] [Back to School] [Back Online] [Into the Heartland] [Ancient Capitals] [Judeo-Christian Holidays] [From Albany to Zurich] [Yellow Mountain] [Loose Ends] [Hello, Debbie ... Goodbye, Debbie] [Southern Capital] [Tropical Tour] [Unwinding] [Farewell Banquets] [Winding Down] [Good Bye, Shanghai]


Copyright 1999 Paul Miesing. All rights reserved. Please do not use without permission unless in the People’s Republic of China which does not enforce intellectual property rights. Revised on January 17, 2001.