For the past two weeks, I have largely been hanging out with my father. He went on an odyssey of sorts across China with stops in places like Xian, the Mekong River, Tibet, and more. That trip ended in Shanghai, and instead of heading back to the USA like other members of his tour group, he decided to hop on a train, see me, and stay in Changzhou. He wanted to hang out with his youngest son.
That ended up of being two weeks of laying low. I split my time between teaching duties and my dad. Since my father was traveled out and tired, I didn’t have it in me to drag him on any escapades into obscure corners of Changzhou. As a result, I haven’t been on any escapades into obscure corners of Changzhou lately. Sometimes quality family time involves eating not very exotic tuna fish sandwiches and discussing all of the science fiction movies you have seen recently. Some of the biggest adventures we had outside the Hohai University guest center involved trying the new hamburgers at OK Koala.
Eventually, that visit came to an end. A few days ago, my dad and I got onto a train to Shanghai. We did the whole Hongqiao to Maglev to Pudong International journey. We parted ways at the airport hotel. On my way back to the maglev, I noticed something curious.
Pudong has an exhibit celebrating Changzhou. Its in the space filled with motorized walkways connecting the two terminals — the part of the airport where the maglev, subway, and buses are all located. It’s next to two other small exhibits celebrating other cities like Changshu. The display spells out some of the history and culture of Changzhou.
For example, there is the obligatory mention of Qu Quibai, Zhang Tailei, and Yun Daiying — the three revolutionary heroes of Changzhou.
Plus, there is a display of the things one could snack on while in the dragon city. Other informational displays detailed the history of handicrafts like wooden combs and more. As foreigner who has lived in Changzhou a few years, I found all of this strangely comforting. Shanghai can easily sell itself as an international, urban center with tons of things to see and business to conduct, yet here is a display promoting and sharing the spotlight with a much smaller city.