As is turned out, I was seated next to a young Chinese woman on my flight from San Francisco to Albuquerque. She was on her first trip to the US, traveling here for training on some sort of instrument that she supports in Beijing. Seems my opportunities to practice my Chinese are becoming more constant and varied.

This trip is over, and I am glad of it considering the amazing craziness of the last two days. It’s nice to be back on my regular time zone and I have to say my judicious use of No Jet Lag has done its job. I always feel better when I remember to take it. I’ll be staying home for a month before heading out again. My annual ranch hand gig kicks in next week and so, I’m home with the horses.

In closing out this adventure I wanted to share a few photographs, not really cultural in nature, but oh so Chinese in their own way. Just a few things I encountered while roaming around.

You don’t see many dogs in China. Unlike Mexico, it’s very unusual to encounter those rangy strays wandering around the city. On a rare occasion, not even daily, you do see people out walking them in the parks and neighborhoods. You do see a few fluffy Pekingese and Pomeranians, the appropriate dog for the vast amount of apartments here in town. I have seen one Husky up in Dalian and one very large Great Pyrenees crossing the street near our hotel. But often, what you see are big, beautiful, impeccably groomed Collies. It takes you back a bit because you simply don’t see them in the US like you did 40 years ago. I took a quick shot of this one being walked by its master across the street from my hotel in Pudong.

Another thing you find here, especially on the front of upscale bath houses and clubs is an Asian interpretation of Ancient Rome. I have seen Praetorian Guards in Dalian, and Gladiators in other places but this one, in the north of Shanghai near the Jade Buddha Temple really kind of takes the cake.

Another shot of the roof of Terminal 2 at the airport. Vast sweeping lights suggesting the leaves of lilies.

This guy is the mascot for the upcoming World Expo being held in Shanghai in 2010. You see him everywhere from printed advertising to cartoons shown on the subway. His name is Hai Bao here and here he is greeting you as you enter the airport.

And lastly, Chinese signs are known the world over for their interesting transformation when translated. I’ve seen so many goofy ones, but this one is one of the best. Taken in the men’s room at a local research park, I guess scientists not only need to be reminded, but in a manner that involves measurement, precision and specific requirements. Ladies, a forbidden glimpse into the lives of men.