So, I’m starting to realize that I need to get used to the ideathat my hair is never going to look good in China. I literally look like I got struck by lightning, which isn’t such a far-fetched idea since Shanghai is apparently being hit with a typhoon this week. Allyson and I sat in our room and watched a great/pretty scary lightning show tonight (while catching up on the new Project Runway season of course. Isn’t it crazy that we can be halfway around the world and still have comforts like facebook and reality television right at our finger tips?! Oh, the wonders of technology and globalization).
We’ve had some great adventures so far. Last night we walked about half an hour from our hotel to the train station and took the metro into downtown Shanghai. This city is incredibly big. We are staying on the outskirts of the city and it took an hour and two train transfers to get into the actual city-city. The train ride was really fun. It’s crazy to see farmland and orchards in the middle of urban sprawl. Our new friend Elie has been a great resource for Allyson and I since he lived here last year and speaks Chinese. He acted as our tour guide in the city and took us to the French Concession and then to see the Bund, which is like the financial district and high-end section of Shanghai. In the French Concession, we experienced our first taste of “China life.” We stopped into a tea shop to sample some tea and cookies. The waitress, however, told our group of ten that we were being cheapskates for only ordering 4 pots of tea. Elie got into an arguing match with her when she only brought out one cup for each pot and told us that another cup would cost 40 kuai! Since most Chinese think we are heathens anyways, we just passed around and shared the cups we had. Though the service was bad, the tea was great – lavender-mint, green, rice, and even mushroom tea!
After tea, we headed back to the train station, bought tickets, went into the wrong terminal, had to buy new tickets, finally found the right train, and then headed towards the Bund! The lights and architecture were absolutely beautiful! Elie led us to a Uigyer restaurant for dinner and we had some delicious, freshly-made noodles. So good! Uigyers are a minority ethnic group from northwestern China. Because Uigyers are muslims, none of the dishes contain pork (which is rare because most Chinese eat a lot of pork). We walked around the Bund after dinner and grabbed some street barbecue and some beer from a vendor by the train station. Street food is a little risky to eat but if you’re courageous enough to try it, it’s really tasty. The vendors roll out these carts everyday with different vegetable and meat kabobs that you can pick and choose from. Allyson and I like the green beans!
Unfortunately, our group spent too much time eating and we missed the last train back to Jia Dong! We had to spring for taxis but, in the end, it only cost us each about 30 kuai, luckily! Elie had to argue with this guy too because he tried to charge us another 50 kuai for going through a toll road. Thank God for our new friend or I think Allyson and I would be broke by now. And hungry! But instead we are fat and happy!