Yu Gardens, Shanghai

Shanghai is a wonderful city. There is so much to do here; so much good people watching. At times i lose myself in wonder, as i try to take everything in. My favorite thing to do is get a general idea about a place to go, find out which metro station leads there, and just leave for the day, a few hundred RMB in my pockets. Yes, sometimes i make plans, like when i went to Tea City (giant tea mall) or the four story medicinal herb pharmacy, but I prefer to allow my heart to lead me whereever it wants. I find all kinds of neat things this way.
Today i’ve done it again. I’m headed to south shaanxi road where i heard there was good shopping. Im forever looking for dresses and shoes. Its very dfficult to find shoes here because the Chinese people simply have a smaller frame than americans. When i tell them i need a 41, or a US 9 i usually get laughed at or taken to the mens department.
I was able to find a pair of ‘Chucks’ (fake version, found at the faux market) for about $10.00 but as far as cute sandals or dress shoes go, I’m usually out of luck.
Last week on one of my ‘adventures’ i ended up in the heart of the financial district on a thrill ride, ill call it. Literally, there was a small amusement park right in the middle of the city.  It swung back and forth, seemingly about to hit the trees, and then started to whirl around. All i remember was seeing the huge George Clooney poster on the side of a building and feeling comforted by that.

The traditional urban style of buildings hereI got to tutor two nine year olds!I will definitely go back to the Bund before I leave!
Afterwards, I found street dancers, musicians, people trying to sell me more fake goods, and more.  I don’t know that I would necessarily want to live in Shanghai, due to the rediculous number of people, the humidity, and the questionable food.  However, I have gained a lot of gratitude for my relatively priveledged Western upbringing.

A ‘touristy’ bar is called ‘Perry’s.  I met 3 Chinese friends (Tina, Alina, Wu Jian) but Perry’s has people from all over the world.  On any night you will find hundreds of people, Columbian, Italian, Spanish, African, French, …okay you get the idea.  One person I met invited me to and American Chamber of Commerce meeting, which I will attend next week.

My favorite places to eat are ‘Guy with Cart who Comes out After 11pm’.  He sets up a dozen different types of skewers, a grill, and viola, hot meat on a stick.   I also like ‘Super Chicken’ and ‘Coco (Taiwanese bubble tea.)

More later..

Tour of Bejing – 2015

Side street near the hotel in Beijing

Side street near the hotel in Beijing




Ni hao from Beijing, China!  I arrived here on Monday morning after a 24 hour plane adventure from Louisville, KY.  The last 5 days in Beijing have been organized as a tour and the actual classes haven’t yet started, so the group has hit a lot of major tourist sites.  I will tell you about those later, but first I want to mention a few things to note about China:

-There are very few actual toilets in Beijing.  Also, you need to bring your own toilet paper and sometimes even soap.

-Many Chinese people will want to take pictures with or of non-Chinese people.  It’s actually quite fun.

-Always bargain at the markets.  The prices are way over-priced and you can usually bargain quite a bit for souveniers.  Someone in my group said ‘People usually have to overpay a few times before they realize this’.  I think this is true.

-‘Pinyin’ is the alphabetical pronounciation of the Chinese characters and is written on street signs in the busy areas of the city.  This is very helpful when ordering food or telling a taxi driver where you are going.

-The subway system is surprisingly easy to navigate and safe.  I can’t say for sure how safe Beijing is, but I have felt just as safe as on the Louisville, KY public transportation system.  It is also only 4 Yuan per ride, which is less than 1 US Dollar.

-You either need to buy bottled water or boil your own.  There is no drinking out of a tap here.  At restaurants, they will bring a teapot of boiled water.  Do not expect a glass of ice-water here.

I’m leaving for Shanghai tomorrow, but have really enjoyed Beijing.