Sunday, June 8

Update on my China Visit

Dear Readers, may I apologise for my neglect of the blog.  Several issues occurred that made it difficult to post.  The key one is that I did not take my "good" laptop to China with me.  It is heavy, and I liked to think it was secure at home.  I had my little laptop, which is good for travelling, but very irritating with its small keyboard and it is not as fast as this one.  In the end I gave up on it.  I did of course post on FB, as much as I could behind the Great Chinese Firewall, and on the 25th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre we all had issues with Google and our computers.

As well, in the last week I was unable to forget that my mother, in her 99th year, had had a massive stroke and was clearly dying.  By the time I knew this, it was too late to re arrange my return - in fact IF I could have changed my plans, it would have only have returned me one day earlier than planned.  Even so, she died before then.

My return journey from China was difficult.  Not only because of all the travelling, and waiting, and lack of sleep, but I could not get my mother and her demise out of my mind.

The return journey was interesting - I caught the fast train from Shaoxing to Hongqiao - it is a fast train and I am thrilled that I could travel on it - but I might have been quicker on the bus from Shaoxing.  It takes nearly an hour to get to the new (amazing) train station which is closer to Keqaio than Shaoxing, and it too ages to walk to the ticket issue centre and waiting room, and a wait of 1 1/2 hours, before the train departed.

As the rail line is elevated, one gets and amazing view of the scenery below and beyond the rail line. The leg room was ample and I have no complains about the train. It was great.  It just takes a looooong time to save time on the train.  The reality is that the bus would have been suitable for me.  Still, no complaints, other than the time.  Also it was a bit challenging as the English is in short supply and I am so glad that Allen Ren from the FAD in the university drove me to the station and helped me get my ticket.  He is a great young man, and I hope I can return the favour to him in Australia at some time.

I had left Shaoxing on the Thursday morning, and arrived in Shanghai in the afternoon, time for me to rush to Nanjing Road to buy something special for someone, and get back to the hotel.  I chose to dine in the restaurant - the only diner as it turned out.  Then up to my room to prepare for my early departure the following morning.

Leaving the city of Shanghai is always a challenge - except at 5 am - there are few cars on the roads, so it was a quick drive (45 minutes) to Pudong Airport, and again another wait before the plane to Singapore departed at 8.15 am.  The flight was uneventful, and on arriving in Singapore Changi, I set out to connect via the Internet to family in Australia.  There was no update from them.  I had asked to be advised as soon as Mum passed away, but the family chose NOT to let me know.  I would rather they wished that they did so, as I had maintained high hopes that I would see her again.

It was a long 7 hours plus in the airport at Changi, but plenty to do, and the time went fairly quickly, before we boarded again for the flight to Brisbane.  That plane was full with no room to stretch and I had very little sleep.

Arriving in Brisbane at 6 am and quickly through Customs and Border Protection, I soon greeted my daughter who had come to pick me up - and to tell me the news that Mum had passed away the day before.

It was a hard day - I was tired, had just learned that I would never see my mother again, and I had to drive direct to Beachmere as I had urgent mail waiting for me, and the post office closed at midday.  Tired, emotional I set off.  At the Bribie Island turn off, I lost attention and hit the car in front of me.  There was little damage.  The other car had a tow bar which mangled my number plate.  No other damage and that was quickly repaired in the afternoon by my neighbour.

I am still tired though I have had good sleep overnight, and am now packing to go to Adelaide. Mum's funeral will be on Friday.

1 comment:

Heather Jacobs said...

Such a hard time Di. Travel safely to Adelaide. Words at times like this are not enough but you know my thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. H