So now that I have given you my impressions of Shanghai, at least some of them, I will start with some personal experiences.
The actual trip to China was relatively painless, despite a three hour delay in San Francisco. I got a window seat, and the seat next to me was empty, which enabled me to sleep at least a little bit. I usually can't sleep, but the past few trips that I have been on I have been able to. Maybe I'm just getting old.
The first few days that I was here, I didn't do much of anything, as I knew that I would have the next six months or so to explore the city and get everything done. The one thing that I did do was go and check out a few places that I could possibly take Chinese lessons. I ended up deciding on this place called MandarinHouse. I chose it mostly because Renee knew someone who took classes there and he liked them. Tonight was my first actual lesson, and turns out that my "small group" lesson is just me so far! I guess it's good because I'm essentially getting private lessons at a group price, but I would actually really love someone else in the class!! Having someone else there takes some of the pressure off of me and makes it more entertaining.
Friday was my most exciting day so far, I am just going to copy and paste what I wrote to Amy because it's easier (sorry Amy! I have changed a little bit though): I was just sort of walking around trying to explore the touristy shopping area, and maybe heading toward one of the other touristy areas, when this small group of Chinese people were like Hello!! So I responded, Hi. Then they kept talking to me, so I was like ok whatever, I'll talk to them. They were four students from Nanjing, a city sort of close to here, and they were visiting Shanghai. They saw me and saw an opportunity to practice their English. They said that they never got to practice with people who actually spoke English, just with each other. Their accents sort of showed this and I had a hard time understanding them, especially at first. So we're talking and they were like well what are your plans now?! I didn't really have any so they were like oh come to this tea ceremony with us!! This is a classic ploy here to get me to spend money, so I was hesitant but I was finally like ok whatever let's go. Turns out they really were just four students from Nanjing that wanted to practice their English. They spent more money at the tea ceremony than I did, and they translated everything for me into English. It was really sort of awkward at points because here I am in the middle of four friends, and the center of attention sort of. It was still fun though. I'm glad I went because it was something totally different. They were pretty funny and asked a lot of questions. Really nice and friendly though.
Then I got lost trying to find my way back from the random tea place. It was excellent. I was looking up at the sky, like now that skyscraper should be behind me and to my left if I were home... I found it after two hours of walking. Though, in all fairness, it was probably a little over an hour's walk anyway. So I got home, changed clothes and cooled off a little, then went to dinner with some of Renee's friends. We went to this Hunan place, which was nice. Hunan province has nothing but spicy food though so I didn't eat much, but it was still sort of entertaining to go. I am so terrible at socializing when I am in a room full of people I don't know. I had one of those terribly awkward moments where the girl next to me asked me a question to open up a conversation and I just answered it and then couldn't think of anything else to say. Awkward....
I also got to try bin jao or whatever... which is a Chinese wine that tastes absolutely nasty. They bought a $100 bottle of it... and it was still fucking disgusting. At least I can say that I had some. I also drank a lot of beer at dinner, which was better than I remember it. Apparently I had not acquired the taste of beer last time I was in China because I remember it being totally gross. (I was 15 last time so this makes total sense..) After dinner we went to this bar on the Bund called Glamour Bar. The Bund is the waterfront strip that was built up by the British in like the late 1800s and still sort of has some of its glory from those day as being touristy and high class. Of course, now it's so old that a lot of other places are nicer in town, but it's still crazy expensive and touristy. So.. there were like 11 dollar drinks at this bar, which is insane for China, so I had just one little drink... We were meeting up with Sage's "best friend" in town, Charles. A now 24 year old UNC grad that runs his own business here with his friend Kevin. So many young guys here that are fucking successful and it's ridiculous.
Renee and I left sort of early because she knew almost as few of people as I did, and had to work in the morning anyway, so we went home while Sage stayed out. Man, all the expats here party hard. No matter the age. The place was jammed with people of all ages. There were like 50 year old couples getting smashed at 1 am. Weird...
That was my Friday. Saturday I didn't do much of anything, and Sunday Renee, Sage and I wandered around. We went to the Expat Show, which we're not entirely sure what it was for other than to advertise insurance, health care and schools. Probably something that would be of use to people who had families or were completely new to Shanghai with no connections. We left pretty quickly, but it was interesting to go see. After that we went to one of the eno stores. I must say, I am pretty impressed. I really really like their stuff and will probably come home with a whole wardrobe full of eno shirts and possibly shoes. They're not that expensive, and even though I have to wear XLs because the sizing is so crazy, I like the stuff. After that we went to the DVD store, which I sort of covered last time, and then just went back home.
So far, I like things. I am still hoping to find something to do as far as work is concerned. I was supposed to go to eno today to start work on marketing projects, but it was put off until tomorrow. I am expected at the office at 9:30 am, so hopefully I will like Hisako, the marketing director, and will like the work!! I sent out a bunch of emails today for other job postings and am really hoping that I hear something back soon. I would love to get an income source.
Well, thanks for listening... Chau chau.
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