September 13, 2015
My journey began before the first light of day at 4:30 am, September 10. I thanked LeeAnn for her support with a hug and a kiss, said goodbye to the dogs (who surely were expecting an early breakfast), and hitched a ride with Erica Cordero to the El Paso airport. My flight aboard a Boeing 787 wide-body jet took me north from Dallas, TX across the Western States, into Canada, and over Juneau, Alaska. The pilot said the plane was new, and by all accounts it was in pristine condition. A light load of passengers in the coach section allowed for plenty of room to stretch out across three seats. Lunch was served with the typical complement of wrapped-plastic utensils – and a pair of chopsticks – which served my needs fine and hinted that I was in for some changes ahead.
I am excited for the experiences that lay before me and a bit anxious about the new social and cultural surroundings in China. I took comfort in knowing there will be plenty of support from the group I am traveling with and from our hosts at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen.
I have been in Shanghai for a couple days, walking the streets, riding the subway, exploring the mazes of shops and eateries, and negotiating a sea of humanity – 20 million strong. I am impressed by the civility of the people who go about their daily business in an orderly and respectful manner. I expect the glitziness of Shanghai’s downtown tarnishes as the city sprawls to its neighborhoods.
More to follow as I sort through hundreds of photographs to help illustrate the experience one of the most dynamic and vibrant cities in the world.