Today, I decided to take a bus out to the little water town of Zhaojiajiao, located about an hour outside Shanghai. I’d found directions online on how to take the express bus out there to check it out. Apparently, a lot of these little villages existed in the old times as little ‘Venice’s’ of Asia, whereby the waterways provided a pathway through the village in which to deliver goods, transport people, and have as a nice view for the buildings that were perched up along the sides of the walled waterways.
After finding my way through the city alleys that had cafes, shops, and coffee/tea houses, the rain started to pour and I was left ducking into a tea house run by an old man in the most modernly eclectically designed café. It looked like a modern tea house with a carefully curated set of props throughout the store. I decided to have a waffle and berry tea.
While I sat and watched the rain, I started to think about my first month of travel, looking back at how much I had planned and poured over what I would be doing during my journey. What I would learn. How I would grow. The trip has unfolded perfectly due to the amount of thought and planning I put into it, but also, watching the world live in front of me while I observe from my solitary position as a traveler, I find that people no matter where they are truly have the basic pleasures and desires in life.
Whether it be a grandfather playing with a grandchild, a baby crying for a mother, or children playing in the street, as cliché as it sounds, we are not all that different in basic foundations of our being. What I do think is different is the way in which we react to our environment, in which China has proven that they are a land of scarcity and overpopulation. The way they approach lines or entering a train is a desperate push, cut, and forcing their way to make sure they get on, because their environment has produced the mentality that the next one, may never arrive.
Instead of getting frustrated at people cutting, or pushing, you just have to get in there and push right along with them. Cut when you see an opening, because if you don’t, someone else will, and if you wait to be ‘polite’ the entire time, you will end up waiting until 1 billion people file ahead past you.
After my time in the watertown, I went back to the bus station and caught a bus back to Shanghai, had some dinner, and then managed my way back home from a full day of exploring!