I've been through the Shanghai airport many times since then, and I'm happy to see that it's a thoroughly modern airport now. In that first trip, we stayed in Beijing, with stops in Jinan, Qufu, Taishan, Nanjing, Wuxi and finally back to Shanghai. When I returned home, I wrote a series of articles about the trip for my newspaper. Looking back over that first one recently, I found I wrote, "I've never had all that much interest in the Orient, so why I went to China, I'll never know."
I still don't know today why I went to China, but I do know that trip changed my life forever. Ten years later, I returned to work as a copy editor at China Daily on a one-year contract. I came back to the United States when that contract ended, but a year later, I was back at China Daily for another year. Since that contract ended, I've gone back to China about every other year, including two trips in 2008.