It’s our last full day in Shanghai today (a Sunday) and we’re going to spend it going into town and seeing the Shanghai Museum. We’ve had three weeks of a high technology campus, canteen Chinese food (not bad) and occasional forays into Byron Beans, a western cafe on the edge of campus run by an Australian, Nick, who introduced us to Tasmanian beer. We could not get warm when we first came here mid-February. Yesterday the temperature reached 27 degrees Celsius, the birds sang and all the yellow buds popped out.

Tomorrow we fly to Beijing. I did floor exercises in our Shanghai apartment yesterday morning, watching the Communist party people’s congress proceedings in Beijing on CCTV, so I think I’m ready. They used (translated) phrases like “socialism with Chinese characteristics” and “social democracy” so often I thought Ontario’s Waffle party had resurrected itself in China. Which would not be all bad.

What has made this part of the trip particularly delicious is that people we love wanted to visit; my sister, her partner, and two old friends. The apartment has been full of conversations so good I hurry back from brushing my teeth, worried I’ve missed something. London (where we spent three months in 2009) and Shanghai were like that too, and I’d say the common denominator was the people. ¬†Find some friends and travel with them, no matter what your age. Repeat as often as you can. There’s no life like it.