Didn't start from the beginning? Go back here to Part One.
We all slept well that night, and the next day, while still filled with memories and places and beautiful sights, was calmer: it felt like stolen time, to be sipped and appreciated. We had managed to skip going to the Sports College entirely: the director wasn’t there and no one else seemed anxious to take his spot. We lounged around the Zhejiang museum with our group, Elaine’s aunt, some rowers, some coaches…everyone seemed disinclined to split off, to go back to their usual schedules. At last we were brought to a sort of House O’ Dumplings where even more rowers showed up from nowhere to help bring trayloads of food to our group.
Ultimately, it was time to get on the bus and head to Shanghai, where we had decided to sleep the last night ..close to the airport and past any possible morning traffic jams. Tears were shed…by the Chinese masters, by Elaine, by my boys, as the bus pulled out of town and we all fell asleep.
Any normal travelogue at this point would be over: we slept near the airport, what else could happen? Well, these sheltered Italian teenagers were now seasoned China travelers! And so EVERYONE slipped out of the hotel as soon as possible to explore the surrounding neighborhood. Weird-stuff-on-sticks was tasted, local grocery stores were hit up for mangoes and iced tea, the local square was populated by Italians wearing bright red Zhejiang Rowing Club t-shirts, giggling with a bunch of local middle-schoolers on the exercise equipment. Authentic noodle shops were found and patronized. Everyone speculated as to the level of the people in the area…were they middle class? Lower class? Happy with their buying power? Striving for better?
Enzo and I had already seen all of this. We had our own theories and ideas and impressions, well-seasoned over many trips. So we just sat back, and let the seeds of future world travelers take root, and grow.
The End. Until next year!