If Changi is huge, Shanghai is terrifying.
Arriving at the airport at 5am, there was nothing open. Nothing at all. It reminded me of a Sunday in Perth. In most of the areas I visited I was the only one there, which, coupled with the industrial barebones decor that resembled an underground maintenance facility, created a creepy resonance not unlike Fallout 3. Around an hour later the shops did finally open. And by open I mean the staff showed up and the roller doors lifted, but each store remained completely empty. It was a ghost town and I did not want to be the only customer. Odd.
After pondering the reason for this and coming to no good conclusions, hunger won out. I worked up the gall to go up to a sandwich bar and order the Kimchi noodles they had so appetizingly on a giant billboard behind the counter. The poor girl looked mortified and started rummaging frantically, stating "Kimchi!" over and over like it was some kind of death sentence. I immediately regret my request and added "Or, you know, if it's easier, just a sandwich". Her movements became no less frantic and she retreated to a freezer out the back. She emerged 5 minutes later with the precise contents of one sandwich in multiple frozen bags.
"Hm," I exclaimed.
I am fairly certain the ingredients had been frozen for over a year but I tipped the girl $15 because I think it's the first sandwich she'd ever made, bless her soul. I then searched for WiFi so I could let my family and friends know it was quite likely I was going to die in this airport. Minutes after finding a terminal, I remembered that Facebook was banned in China, and that I was completely cut off. (E-mail, I hear you say? Well maybe it's obvious now but it's easy to be all high and mighty from your NON COMMUNIST PC. Plus e-mail is so 90's). After a futile attempt to locate a carrier pigeon I went to my gate and awaited the sweet embrace of death. Several painful flights later, which were the beginning of my experience of being the only caucasian for several thousand miles, I awoke to the northern Japanese mountains rolling beneath me like some crumpled silk sheet. The snow tipped peaks oddly reminded me of an Oreo McFlurry. All my troubles were forgotten (except I was kinda hungry for some reason).