At the End of the World


My year in Shanghai is over, and I am flying back home this weekend. My Chinese experience has been incredibly rich, often difficult, and at times it even contradicted itself. A lot of things in my life have changed, and I have, too, in many ways.

Knowing I would leave China in less than two weeks, I wanted to go on my last trip – to see the ocean. Shanghai sits right on the Pacific coast, and even its names translates as “on the sea”. I had never seen the Pacific before.


My flat is situated a bit out of the centre in the western part of Shanghai, and it took almost two hours to travel to the easternmost tip of the little peninsula the city is built on. As the metro train gained distance from the central area, the stations were further apart and also the landscape became significantly more rural. The terminus is near a big, perfectly circular artificial lake, but getting to the coast proper still required a seven-kilometre bike ride along muddy, deserted roads.


At the end of the journey, a small rocky beach awaited. There were a few people scattered among the stones, some catching crabs, some just enjoying the afternoon out. The sea breeze was refreshing, and the view of the smoky grey, seemingly infinite ocean really made me feel like I was standing at the end of the world.


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