The HK-Shanghai Errands Interlude

Ok, I kind of really want to talk about Japan (JAPAN!!!) so allow me to give you the highlights of my three days in Hong Kong and my almost-week in Shanghai:

  • Surprising no one, the Russian Consulate in HK was full of slightly ill-tempered workers who got very annoyed when I showed up with my application but without an appointment. Apparently, this was a new rule they’d imposed in the summer, but they only posted these rules on the HK Russian consulate website, which wouldn’t load for me. So I had filled my application out on a different embassy website (I don’t know how any of this really works), and hadn’t seen or gotten any notifications requiring me to make an appointment. So I got shunted over to the Visa Application Center, which was literally right across the hallway and helped you submit your application appointment-free except for about $40 more and with nicer people.
    • (Special thanks to Jeff and Jaynie‘s blog post on applying for a Russian visa in HK, and WaytoRussia, which I used to buy the visa support document.)
  • I think I sweated out my entire bodyweight in HK while poking around the city looking for new hiking boots. At one point, I ended up in the most haphazard camping store full of towers of shoeboxes that I swear were all read to keel over and bury us all, and they still didn’t have any in my size.
  • Eventually I found a small Merrill outlet in a very, very, very large department store. The shoes were a little too long, but not too snug on my very, very, very wide feet (I brought thick hiking socks so I could check on the width), so I called this a success and bought them.
  • Then I went to Shenzhen and spent a brief night at the Star Whisperer Spacecraft Hostel!!! Which was actually kind of cool, even though the blacklights were 1000% cosmetic and served absolutely no purpose.

    Star Whisperer Spacecraft Hotel 
  • Also, it was kind of best to just ignore what it looked like on the outside…
Totally trustworthy.
  • On my way out of Shenzhen, I was trapped in the airport for a solid 7 to 8 hours. Three cheers to Hannah, who kept me from throwing myself into some abyss of despair when I saw this on the board.
This is also when I realized Chinese airports don’t have any bars. 
  • Then I got to Shanghai!
  • In Shanghai, I stayed with Hannah, and visited some of the old haunts (like the archery range!), met up with as many friends as I could, and bummed around. It was kind of nice to relax in a familiar place, take a step back from traveling, and watch figure skating videos with Hannah for like, literal hours.


How to move your cat to Shanghai, in five-ish easy-ish steps

(originally posted on my chengdu blog!)

So, you’ve gone and moved yourself to Shanghai. You’ve been lured by the home of mainland China’s first Disneyland and its huge city-ness, and the fact that the expat social bubble is a purported 3 degrees of separation, instead of Chengdu’s 1.5 degrees.

In this big, new and exciting city, your only friend is your cat.

Except your cat is still in Chengdu.

Well, shit.

Continue reading How to move your cat to Shanghai, in five-ish easy-ish steps

Flotation Meditation, by a Recent Convertee


(written April 26)


Is it Swedish wordplay on flotation, or just a Swedish word? Or is it a nod to its location in Asia?

I spent a not inconsiderable amount of time pondering this question today. Or at least, it felt like a considerable amount of time — or maybe it was none at all. I sort of lost sense of time.

My musings aside, Floatasian is the name of a sensory deprivation therapy spa n Shanghai, founde dby two Swedish brothers. The essential concept is taht you float for a bout an hour in a dark chamber filled with extremely salty water. It is meant to be relaxing, meditative, restorative, and a bunch of other physical and mental –ives.

Fair warning: I have drank the Koolaid. It is all of those things.*


the Floatasian flotation chamber 

Continue reading Flotation Meditation, by a Recent Convertee