I think the Post is reading my mind. Is there any other way to explain its travel feature on Shanghai less than a week before I head to China?

Oh, that’s right. By the way, I’m going to China this Saturday. I refrained from blogging about it because I hadn’t gotten my visa yet and wasn’t completely sure everything was going to work out. But a few days ago, my passport came back from the Chinese consulate, complete with super-expensive visa. (An American tourist visa costs 145,000 won, about $120, which is more expensive than any other country. Why couldn’t I be from Canada? Canadians pay like, 40 bucks.) Anyway, I’ve rationalized the pricey visa by telling myself that between my super cheap flight (around $100 American) and the visa, I’m still getting a pretty solid deal.

My flight lands in Beijing on Saturday afternoon, and I fly out of Shanghai eight days later. I have no plans as of yet, and the only thing I know for sure is where I’m sleeping at night (holler, $8 hostels). I want to do some major shopping, and even held off on buying some sweet jewelry in Insadong this weekend, telling myself I could get it cheaper and cooler in China. Friends Gabe (who studied in Shanghai last year) and Megha (currently living in Beijing) have been very helpful in recent weeks, providing lots of information and answering all my pre-trip questions. Looking forward to catching up with Megha, as well. I haven’t seen a Terp, aside from Erin, since Simone was here in December, and haven’t seen a fellow Diamondbacker in nearly a year.

I’m stoked for this trip. I desperately need out of Seoul, if only for a bit, and a week-long jaunt to China should help. I’ve been told that SEV will be getting students from the orphanage the week I’m gone, so if nothing else, that’s excellent timing. I get back to Korea on May 31, my eight monthiversary, which means I’ll only have four months to go before my contract finishes. Also, I figure that if I can handle a week completely on my own in a foreign country, then I should be alright when I do the post-Korea backpacking thing this fall. Now just counting down…T-minus five days…

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