Out of Hibernation - Much to See in a Small Area - CycleBlaze

April 26, 2020

Out of Hibernation

Starting it all off with the famous bridge near the Bund area
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Greetings everyone.  It's been over a month since the very dramatic ending of my last journey and journal.  At the center of it all was the response to the coronavirus, that is COVID-19 and this played out in two stages.  Stage #1 was how the virus unfolded in China and upended the life that I had lead for a number of years and resulted in a much longer cycle tour in Thailand than was expected.  The idea was to use the tour as part of an ongoing transition to find a new job outside of China and effectively end everything I used to know and love about living and working in Shanghai.  Stage #2 was how the virus evolved into a global pandemic while at the same time contained by China and other countries.  This twist in the plot had me retreat back to Shanghai at the last minute and effectively kaibosh all the plans I had made in Stage #1.  You can read about all this in the last journal.

Since coming back here, a number of developments have happened.  Most importantly, I proposed to my girlfriend who is a local Shanghainese.  She said yes, and we're planning to get married after this whole COVID nightmare ends.  It was destiny that we were meant to be together, and the virus actually played an instrumental role in making sure my own plans failed to find a job in Malaysia and had me come back here instead.  But I had already quit my first job in Shanghai and they found a replacement.  Since quarantine however, I did manage to line up a brand new job that will begin in August on the outskirts of the city and it's even better than the now defunct Malaysia one.  So it's a win/win, you put the girl first and find an even better job.

They say the most useless purchase you could have made in 2019 is a 2020 planner and that's entirely true.  All travel plans are put on hold as we learn to live with this new normal.  The idea to go back to Thailand during the summer for another cycle tour, or anywhere outside of China for that matter, is looking less and less likely by the day.   Articles in the paper show that social distancing and travel restrictions will continue until the vaccine comes out which isn't likely until early to mid 2021.   Combine that with the fact I have a mission on my hands to renew my passport and work visa for the new job.  So basically, forget about summer travel.

That means the next cycle tour in Thailand wouldn't be *at minimum* until winter break in 2021 or even summer 2021.  That's a reality I can accept and especially once the new job revs up and wedding planning gets under way it would take priority over a tour.

Meanwhile, there couldn't be a better place to stay put for awhile.  Shanghai is an amazing city in its own right and there is plenty to see here.  The aim is to do semi-regular rides around the city/province using my home as a base, and thus treat this as if it were a cycle tour.  

Quarantine is now long over, and I'm back into the swing of things as best as possible.  That includes in addition to the cycling, taking up my group fitness hobby full time, spending time with my fiancee, going to social events, and attempting to do online teaching for the remainder of my current job.  The overall situation is much better in Shanghai than in many other parts of the world, but it's still the new normal we all have to face.  I'll try to illustrate this throughout the journal as situations come up.  It may be as innocuous as having to show the green health QR code and have your temperature checked while getting on a ferry to cross the river. 

The bike of choice will be the Montague Paratrooper Pro as always, it is a standard sized mountain bike that folds.  For the last 5+ years it was stored in Thailand at a guesthouse I often visit but this time it got transported back here in a hurry from the last trip.  So I figure why not continue with it.

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Rachael AndersonGrew to hear from you again. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage and new job! You definitely made the right decision. I look forward to reading about your upcoming rides!
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