Five days. Too good to be true.

Post title refers to a song that we first heard in a Nanjing night club during my 21st birthday celebration. 5 days - Patrick Nuo

Five days. That's all thats left...five days and I'll be on a plane headed straight to Hong Kong. Well, maybe not directly (stops in Chicago and Shanghai), but before I know it, my grand life in New York City will be over! I started "cleaning" yesterday, but I'm starting to realize that I need to do more than "clean".  I have way too much stuff and am having a hard time deciding what to pack.  This is horrible because my aspirations to be a world traveler is not compatible with my "pack rat" personality.  I can't let my belongings go! I'm even shipping my bedding home even though I know I could just purchase the same set back at home.

I absolutely abhor packing - the taping, wrapping, and especially the SHIPPING. I went to the post office today to find out that if I want something to be picked up from my apartment, I already have to know the weight and measurements of each box.  If I calculate incorrectly, it gets shipped back to the origin, which doesn't fare well with me. Therefore I have to hand-carry each and every box to the post office.  I really don't see myself taking a cab 5 blocks, but I also don't see myself carrying 5+ boxes to and from the post office. C'mon people! This is New York City! If you have the tools to pick up my goods, then DO IT! I don't even own a scale in my apartment to check how heavy my boxes are!

My room looks like a freight train exploded in it. Every time I look down I have the urge to give up and throw everything away. If only I could! I guess I have seen worse...the night I tried to pack up everything at Smith... I'm not even gonna go there. So where is this handy dandy packing list I was supposed to receive.  Would be helpful to know what is necessary!

I finally booked my airport shuttle about 5 minutes ago and the shuttle service is forcing me to pack 2 suitcases, not 2 with a rolling carry-on. Just 2 check-in luggage. Well, I'll see what I can do.

Ok back to packing... without a packing list.

2 weeks away and ready to rumble.

I finally received my Chinese visa after visiting the consulate three times! They weren't ready for me on the written date of my receipt, causing me to either struggle waiting for the M42 bus or walking or paying for $10+ cab fares to get me across Manhattan...also I was on a time constraint due to their open hours. But at last - a Chinese business visa in my hands!

I also received my luggage in the mail! I am in love.They look even better than on Amazon and seem much more durable than my fake Samsonite I purchased in Beijing two years ago. Not too sure how I'll travel through Hong Kong and Yunnan with them, but these three suitcases will definitely fit all of my stuff! I hope..

My arrival and departure flights have been confirmed and ticketed. July 5th arrival in Shanghai and departure December 23rd! I'll make it home for Christmas, unlike I had earlier planned! This obviously has made my family happy and I will be able to live in my new home for a few weeks! A funny story about my family's new house - First of all, we're renting so that my brother can go to another school district, but we're keeping our Palo Alto house, but it has been so difficult finding a home to rent since most people want to rent in this dismal economy. My dad texted me last night,

"I was talking to an agent on a house rental.  Somehow we touched on the subject of the World Expo.  She told me that there were so many kids that she knew applied and couldn't get in.  She said 'your daughter must be very special'.  I just wanted to tell you this. After the conversation, she decided to rent the house to us." 
 I replied to his text,
"Wow! So you better appreciate me and pay for my trip now". (in regards to my bangkok to singapore trip)
My dad agreed. He has planned to join me on a backpacking trip from Bangkok to Singapore, just the two of us, and has agreed to pay for the 2 weeks. Of course he knows that I plan budget trips so he's not too worried about the expense. :)

I have 4 days of work and 10 days of play left in Gotham. All of which can be read about at Chaos of Gotham.  I need to start organizing my things as my roommate has already found people to check out the room. Next time you hear from me, I'll probably be in Hong Kong!

Zaij! (Our slang in Shanghai for Zai Jian- "see you again" or "bye")

Business Visa & Google Travel Map.

I have waited so long for this day. The day I could apply for aBusiness visa. It's no longer about the "X","Z", "J" or whatever "letter" visas anymore. It's all about the "F" visa! I received all of my paperwork from the USA Pavilion over the weekend (surprised they're working over the weekend!) and rushed to the Chinese Consulate during my lunch break today.

I did everything the USA Pavilion told me not to do. "Don't go in the afternoon" and "don't go on Monday or Tuesday". Whoops. I went Monday afternoon and paid the price.  I waited in a tiny, hot lobby for two hours.  What a waste of my lunch break. However, I did get to meet some cool strangers.  Just a few Americans wanting to visit the expo, study abroad, etc... Also some crazy asian families that found out I was working at the world expo and couldn't stop spreading the news. "他七月在世博会美国管工作!” Translation : "In July, she's working for the world expo's USA Pavilion!"  They told me that I should go to the "dignitary line". I scoffed. If only I was considered that kind of ambassador! Many of them said they would come visit me. Hah, once they see the non-Asian ambassadors, they'll forget all about me. Hey, it's the truth.

Two "joyous" hours later, I escaped into the smoggy Manhattan air. I will have to repeat the scenario again on Thursday when I pick up my passport. I'm pretty sure the pick up line will go much faster, but another wasted lunch break and $10 cab rides across the island each way. Oh China, what I do for you!

Visa - check!

Onto my flight itinerary. I am confirmed to fly out of LaGuardia on July 4th. Yes, I miss all the die-hard American festivities - like BBQs and fireworks.  I will make sure to bring a bucket of Buffalo wings on my airplane ride(s) and will be flying over the fireworks! Unfortunately, I am not as enthusiastic about my trip to Asia because it consists of 3 flights. Oh yes, three.  In order to receive my free roundtrip flight to Shanghai, I must fly through Chicago - and arrive in Shanghai, duh. destination on July 5th is Hong Kong!  I will arrive in Hong Kong at 9pm on July 5th. I am losing TWO days of my life!! Ahh!

Oh well...see China, this is what I do for you.

I have made a map of my tentative travel plans.

View Cassie's Asia Adventures in a larger map

I will give dates and details once I have solidified the dates and details...
After making this map, and realizing most of my trip is taking a public bus, I think I am going to die. No, seriously. How do the backpackers do this? I'm going to smell like none other- eau de toilette s'il vous plait! I can't even imagine what I will look like in my photos. Be prepared!

Lastly. I have purchased new luggage at my parents expense. Hi dad! :)
Of course they will be thrilled that it's SKY BLUE! Hey, it could be worse for them - "Dusty rose". Haha! I got the 3 piece set for $200! Beats the fake Chinese one I bought last year! It lasted me 3 trips...pretty good for $20. 

Travelers' Choice Freedom 3 Pc Set - Sky Blue

This suitcase set is not the most travel friendly for the adventure I am going on. So I am also on the prowl for a great backpacking backpack. Any suggestions?
That's it for now! Til the next visa adventure...or maybe something more eventful :)