Staying put for CNY

By Jeff Beresford-Howe Source:Global Times Published: 2018/2/13 17:18:40

Our baby just turned 100 days old, and traveling anywhere for Chinese New Year (CNY) seems like a daunting proposition.

My wife's parents are wintering in Haikou, my father passed away two years ago and my mother lives in San Francisco, and so home in Shanghai for CNY it is.

There's a brand new word to describe what we're doing - staycation. We did this last year, too, even without little Jirui limiting our options, and there are a lot of advantages to it.

First, we don't get caught in the "largest human migration on earth." No railway cars with exhausted, package-laden standees, no backed-up airport security checks or flight delays. No brutally expensive, last-minute tickets to buy and no out-of-town restaurants with "special pricing."

Second, Shanghai is ordinarily a crowded, traffic-filled city of 25 million people. Not so during CNY. When I go to my regular bar, my usual 25-minute electric bike trip is 10 minutes. When I get there, I'll have no trouble getting the bartender to put Shanghai SIPG's AFC Champions League games on the TV because the English football snobs are gone. There are no lines at the supermarkets. I can walk my dogs without having to worry about surfing surges of people exiting my local subway station. My wife's compulsive online shopping grinds to a halt as delivery services shut down.

People are also in a better mood. It's like we're all getting away with something because we didn't throw ourselves into the ravenous maw of the CNY experience. And there's an unexpected bonus. All the trains and planes leaving Shanghai this week have to come back so they can pick up more people. Our good friends from Beijing will come to Shanghai to meet Jirui on New Year's Eve. "Traveling on New Year's Eve? Are you insane?" I asked them. No, it turns out, they're not. Booking only a few days in advance, they had their choice of high-speed rail departure times and seating arrangements, and they got a massively discounted hotel room.

So, we'll toast the New Year in our home on Thursday night and maybe even have the "hair of the dog" the next day. And while many are spending their vacations on beaches, when I see Jirui smile, I forget all about the sand and surf.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.


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