I’m back traveling again and back to a very cool place that holds fond memories for me… Shanghai. Not only do i love the city, but i love the friends i made, the children i taught, the food, the culture, the language and the Chinese people. This trip was special because i managed to organize a reunion with 4 friends from 4 countries back to where our friendships started. France, Italy, China and Australia reunited!
I was flying to Shanghai from Rome as I’d been visiting friends previously in Italy. I was on a direct flight with China Eastern airlines, on my way to see some good friends, feeling positive and looking forward to arriving. It had been a few years since I’d flown with CEA and somehow I’d forgotten that there was no individual entertainment system on board, the plane was full and mainly of Chinese people. I happened to be seated in one of the middle seats of the middle section on a full flight with about 5 small, crying babies in the vicinity.Don’t you hate that?! *Reminder to check in earlier next time! It could only get better couldn’t it?
One not to complain, I sat down, closed my eyes and didn’t even notice take-off (this is my usual routine) until i could smell it was dinner time. Once awake I made a comment to the Italian guy seated next to me about it going to be a long flight because a baby was still crying. He laughed, we started talking and i think we spent 6 of the 11 hour flight talking! An Italian girl across the aisle kept looking over at us because we were having such a laugh and i could tell she wanted to join in, so we included her in our conversation, and just like that 11 hours had passed and we were landing in Pu Dong Airport. We had to say goodbye to Elena who was heading to Australia and both myself and Simone were staying in Shanghai.
I was supposed to meet up with my usual suspect of a travel companion, Claudia, who had arrived the day before but up until yesterday neither of us knew where we were staying. I was in Pu Dong Airport with no news from Claudia as where to meet her, a mobile phone with no battery and i had no local currency. Wow, you’d never guess i was a regular traveler, would you?
My new friend Simone who lives in Shanghai could see that i had no clue what i was doing and he offered to take a taxi with him into the center. In the meantime i managed to find a power point to charge my phone for 5 minutes and sent Claudia a message with Simone’s mobile. I decided to take a taxi with him but she hadn’t called by the time we arrived at his house so i went up to charge my phone, wait for her to call and have a cup of real Italian coffee. Anyone would probably think i was crazy…. and perhaps i was. I also believe that you get a feeling if you can trust someone or you can’t and i had a good feeling about Simone so i went with it.
Finally Claudia called and told me where to meet her. Simone had to go to dinner with friends and offered to accompany me in a taxi as it was on route to the restaurant. We exchanged numbers and emails before i got out of the taxi and we said goodbye.
Seriously, how lucky was I and how cool is Simone? This is the kind of generosity you can find with an open mind, trust, conversation and believing that these genuine, good people are out there! Poor Simone didn’t expect to encounter such an unprepared idiot but i am truly grateful he did because who knows how long i could have been sitting in Pu Dong Airport for! Also, i made a new friend! Bonus!
Thanks Simone! Grazie mille!