I’m sitting in a tenth-floor room of the Shangri-La Pudong, listening to an orchestra of car horns on the street below. Around me, skyscrapers are lovingly caressed by the fog and swallowed whole from above. It’s my first time in Shanghai and it tastes like home — thriving forests of glass and steel, flawless roads prowled by BMWs and Audis, stores that sell Prada and Gucci and Giorgio Armani. I don’t feel like I’ve gone anywhere at all.
Yes, the signs are in a different language. Yes, the stars are yellow and the flag is red. Yes, the flowers by the roadside could never grow in the climate at home.
But it doesn’t feel different.
When I was in London, I felt myself moved by something I couldn’t put a finger on. Every sight, every sound, every intake of air, I wanted to treasure and keep as precious. At that time, I arrogantly thought I had made a connection with the city. Now I know it was just London’s way of telling me that I didn’t belong.