JISHOU, HUNAN — Classes and exams ended over a week ago, but I was obliged to stay in town until the Public Security Bureau returned my passport, complete with a new residence permit.
I was luckier than Ai WeiWei. I only had to wait three weeks to get my passport back. He waited four years, for entirely different reasons, of course.
In the meantime, I booked my tickets to, around and from the USA, got invited to a wedding this Saturday, and settled where I’d go between the wedding and my departure for the US on Aug. 3.
I’ve been talking about visiting Xi’an and the Terracotta Soldiers for a few years now, but till now hadn’t gotten around to going. It’s about time, I guess.
So, here’s my itinerary for the next few weeks.
July 24 (Friday): Zhangjiajie, Hunan, to attend a wedding party
July 26: Changsha, Hunan, overnight stay
July 27: High speed rail to Xi’an,Sha’anxi (travel time 6 hours)
July 31: High speed rail to Hengyang, Hunan, to visit a friend (travel time 7 hours)
Aug. 2: Return to Changsha, overnight stay
Aug. 3: fly to Shanghai, onward to Chicago and Cedar Rapids
Aug. 13: Amtrak to Denver
Aug. 22: fly to Louisville
Sept. 1: fly to Shanghai, onward to Changsha
Sept. 3: Back in Jishou
Classes resume Sept. 7.
The costs for transport and lodging within China are about 2580 RMB (so far). That’s about $415. As usual, the university is paying for my travel between Changsha and the USA — not within it — but this year I decided to upgrade my seats to Economy Plus for the Shanghai-Chicago run. Those upgrades cost about $400, but I figure it will be worth it. I’m really tired of being shipped like a tinned sardine over the Pacific Ocean.
I’ll try to post some blogs as I travel, depending on WiFi access and my Android tablet’s cooperation. I’m not lugging around my laptop this time, as I did winter holiday. It’s just too unwieldy for the amount of time I spend on it.