Well, I just walked in my front door after 6 hours at the office, half an hour in a cab, 2 hours at Pudong, 14 hours on a plane, 6.5 hours at O'Hare (my flight got delayed twice), another 3-hour flight, and a ten-minute cab ride home. I maybe slept a total of 4 of those hours.
I picked up a sore throat on Wednesday night (it was probably that game of badminton), which morphed into a cold sometime Friday morning. This is odd for me because I have not been sick, not even a cold, since like April of 2005. Of course I was expecting something to happen in Shanghai, so if I can come away from a weeklong visit with just a cold, I think that's a good thing. At least I didn't get any wigglies :-)
I guess because the pressure in my sinuses/head is different than normal, my head and ears really hurt when landing both in Chicago and in Austin. It was pretty terrible. And my left ear was all stopped up for hours after I landed in Chicago. I've had small episodes of this phenomenon on planes but a good yawn always clears it right up. It's never been this bad.
I kept forcing a yawn because that usually helps relieve the pressure. But thank goodness I have a cold, because when I went to blow my nose, that pretty much fixed the problem :-) Unfortunately it offset my equilibrium for a couple seconds, so I was swaying in the airport bathroom. But when the air escapes it makes this neat little gurgling sound. I can hear it loud and clear because it's in my own head. But I wonder if anyone else can hear it? I doubt it, but that'd be kind of hilarious :-)
Anyway, I left out some stuff. In addition to what I posted before, I ate spicy duck tongue, chicken knuckles (chicken cartilage), sashimi, scallops, and okonomiyaki, which was delicious. These latter four dishes were at a Japanese place - I can't remember the name but I think it was on Huai Hai Lu. Anyway it was really good. I also had some nigiri-sushi, which has a dab of wasabi in it ... now I've had wasabi before in the States, but I guess it gets more authentic the closer you get to Japan. Because the wasabi in Shanghai incapacitated me for like 10 seconds :-)
I also had Papa John's and Pizza Hut; the former with pickles on top and the latter with some fish and squid on top. Mmmm, can't get that in the States. The pizza was good but definitely not the quality I'm used to here in America.
In what seems like an ongoing theme, the Pizza Huts in Shanghai are way nicer than in America. The one we went to, in the Thumb Plaza, seems like a good date restaurant. The decor is all modern and fancy-looking. It's not quite the atmosphere of an Olive Garden, but definitely closer to that than in the States.
Speaking of which, I made fun of the Shanghai HoJo Zhangjiang before I ever went there. Well, it's moreso that I made fun of the concept of this hotel as opposed to the hotel itself :-) I feel I owe it (the concept) an apology. It was a supremely nice hotel. Very slick and with great service. Awesome breakfast in the mornings (including sushi!). Probably one of the three nicest hotels I've ever stayed in. And everybody was so nice!
Pictures are coming soon!