I remembered wondering if planning for a one day trip to Shanghai was sufficient.
As if it was meant to be, half of my one and only day in Shanghai was spent puking and running to the toilet (for at least 8 times). Ever since my epic trip to Kashmir in near freezing temperatures, I have never been that helpless.
It goes like this. The bullet train arrives in Shanghai at 8pm. I take the metro to my hotel, which is about 45 minutes away from the train station. When I arrive, I realise I am at 368 of East Yan’an Road. My hotel is 7 Yan’an Road.
So I walk on, through some dark streets reflecting the light of flyovers with blue lights. (Don’t understand why they use blue lights). Seems like I am in year 2030. Thank goodness Shanghai seems safe.
It takes me about half an hour to reach 7 Yan’an Road. By then, it’s already 9.30pm. The security guard tells me to hurry on to The Bund. I hurry over and take pictures. The room is nice, just that there’s this weird clanking sound coming from somewhere and I get intermittent Wifi signals.
The Bund is nice. But I honestly prefer the rough and tumble of Colombo’s Waterfront which is right smack at the front of the ocean. But the night is cool and kind of romantic (just that I’m alone). At 10pm, the clock chimes. Just as I was about to take a last shot what seems to be a World War 2 monument like the one in Singapore, the lights go out. I head back.
I passed by a convenience store. Just nice I thought. I stock up on water and instant noodles. I thought to myself, since it’s the last day, why not try China’s instant noodles before I leave?
I trot on back to the hotel. The helpful security guard tells me that there’s a hot water dispenser at the lobby.
Yay! I don’t have to boil water, I told myself. I open the instant noodles, have some trouble opening a sausage like thing, but manage after 10 tries.
I had an instant noodles dinner in front of the TV. It tasted okay, not too yummy though. I wanted to leave half behind, but decided not to waste food. So I ate everything up and went to bed.
At 5am, my stomach started to rumbling, I hurried on to the toilet. It was utterly painful. I thought it was a one-off thing, but little did I know as I crawled back to bed, I had to get up 5 minutes later to run to the toilet again.
It was exhausting. I search in vain for some charcoal pills, but all I had were Po Chai Pills. Po Chai Pills don’t work any more.. I thought to myself. Previous experiences had left me vomiting them all out. But I had no choice.
Oh no, I thought to myself again as I ran to the toilet for the third time. How was I even fit to meet Friend H later, and take the plane back to Singapore? I had no idea.
After taking in the Po Chai pills, I felt like puking. Which I did. I wanted to sleep, but a sharp pain hit my abdomen at regular intervals. I was very weak.
So, there goes, Xin Tian Di, Yu Yuan, and all the places I wanted to visit in Shanghai I thought.. How am I suppose to buy that 5 packets of prunes The Father had asked for? I was very Sian. I flip aside the curtains, and it was raining outside, adding to the gloom.
The only hope was that I was meeting Friend H at 7pm later. When you’re sick, it’s always nice to have someone around, saying soothing words and offering to buy you medicine. For one moment, I wished someone could run to Watson to buy me Charcoal pills.
I had to do something, I told myself. Three bottles of Po Chai Pills doesn’t seem sufficient to cure the pain. And I had to check out at 2pm. Decided to extend it until the evening, before I leave.
So I pick up my sweater and went down, despite feeling like a hurricane had hit my stomach.
I asked the receptionist in a weak voice when was the check out time. She said 1pm. Now I was angry but no had no strength to argue.
“But the lady at the counter said 2pm.” I said.
“The actual time is 12pm. But for you, I extended it until 1pm.” she said.
“Then can I extend the time of check out to half a day? I don’t mind paying.” I said.
“No, it’s not possible, you have to pay a lot more. You better checkout by 1pm.”
What a bitch really! I thought to myself. But no time and strength to argue. Let me go get medicine. And if I still am unwell by 1pm, I will just stay in the room until they drag me out. Let’s see what they can do.
I go back with a packet of pills from the Chinese medicine store next door. I can’t find a Watsons even though I am staying near The Bund.
It’s 11am when I get back. I fall into a deep sleep and wake up at 1pm. Thankfully, I feel better. The urge to run to the toilet is gone. I stop taking in water and food, for the fear I may have to hurl and diarrhoea again.
I checked out at 1.15pm and left my backpack with the reception. And with whatever little time I had with Shanghai, I visited Yu Yuan, (looks 10 times better than the Yu Hua Yuan in Beijing), bought 5 packets of prunes for the father and 7 Chinese books for friends.
I do recall vividly staring dismally at the Din Tai Feng at Lao Jie. No Shanghai Xiao Long Bao and all the yummy bao and dumplings associated with Shanghai.
And that is, how I spent my day in Shanghai, and last day in China. Looking, the hotel receptionist may be quite mean, but I am glad I got well just in time to catch a tiny glimpse of Shanghai.
There are always these sort of risks associated with travelling alone. What if you fall sick and no one is there to help you? But I thought about it and I still think it’s fine, if you make adequate preparations. 最重要是要坚强。(Most importantly, it’s to be strong.)