For some reason I can’t upload photos to my blog at the moment. I’m already glad I found a way to upload my blog text. Hope I can add the photos soon!
Time for some sightseeing! My roommate went with me to the city center where we met up with sister in the nail salon. They had a lovely cat there, named Lucky. So quiet that at first I wasn’t sure whether it was a real cat! We went for a great lunch, lots of fresh food prepared at the table, it was yummy!
Nanjing Road is one of the best know places in Shanghai. In the East part there are a lot of big fancy (and expensive!) stores. You can also found shops where they sell traditional Chinese medicine. The main thing I saw over there was some sort of worm, but I also saw seahorses there, apparently good for kidney problems. The chopstick store was also very nice, so many different kinds! I should get some of my own sometimes soon. For the rest we did not enter any shops (only to use the restroom, a lovely sit-down version with toilet paper, hand soap and hand dryers). At the end of the road we could see one of the other famous places: the Bund.
Actually the Bund is just a part of the city with a bunch of very tall buildings, but taken together it looks very impressive. It was pretty crowded there, but actually, it was crowded pretty much everywhere! For the first time Chinese guys came up to us and asked whether they could take a picture with me! Like I’m some sort of celebrity. Ah well, why not. But of course they all had to be on the picture with me as well then!
At the end of the Bund Boulevard there’s a monument about the time where the Chinese kicked out the foreigners that wanted to change the country or something (I’m not so up-to-date with Chinese history). This is one of those things that you see everywhere that shows the Chinese are really proud of their country (or so it seems). A bit further was an old bridge. Seemingly nothing special, but several married couples where taking their pictures over there. Some famous movie was partly shot there, so that’s what made it such a popular place. In the background you could see the Bund. I learned that red is the traditional color to marry in (saw some really great dresses!), but nowadays they do take in some Western traditions, so white is now pretty common as well. Poor brides, posing without coats while it is pretty cold! And smile…
On our way back I really wanted to enter one of the small streets. I’m really happy we did that, those are so much nicer than the huge shopping street! I ate something ‘off the street’ for the first time, I had something the man liked to call a Chinese pizza. I saw so many things there, including lots of food places, fresh fish (some even still alive), a kamikaze cat, meat, vegetables, dogs (with their owners 😉 ) and the smallest shops you can think of.
After dinner (rice soup for the first time) we went to a pub on West Nanjing Road, the Windows bar. Everything was bilingual, so that made it somewhat easier and apparently this was also a place where a lot of foreigners came to. Again a western toilet here, but later in the evening you could see that people still squat here sometimes, given the footprints on the toilet seat. Cocktails were pretty cheap here, but I think I know why; there’s not very much alcohol in there. We were planning on not staying to long, but hey, plans are there to be changed right? When some foreigners started dancing, I joined them (my Chinese friends weren’t really of the dancing kind, although they both did join me for a little while). They appeared to be German, working here for about a month. Their boss was also on the dance floor, a Mexican working in Germany but now stationed in Shanghai for about 6 months. We hit it off on the dance floor; he is as crazy as I am, so I had a really good time! In the end it was about 3 am when we took a cab home. First night out downtown and I already got my first kiss…
After a good 9 hours of sleep (I needed that!), I woke up pretty happy. There’s a real upside to Chinese drinks: since the amount of alcohol is so low, you feel perfect in the morning! Some of the students from the lab came over for dinner. But not before my roommate and I had to go get our bikes from the subway station, since we took a taxi home last night.
They arrived a bit before five and the cooking began immediately: chicken legs, dumplings (not home-made, but very delicious) and some sort of simple soup with flour and eggs. I still find it pretty difficult to eat the chicken legs with chopsticks, but they are really good at it. They also leave their bones much cleaner than I do, but they also eat more of it according to the sounds that came out of their mouth.
They all had about one drink, half of them had a beer (again, low alcohol percentage) and when the food was gone, somebody was asked to do the dishes while the rest tightened up the room. When they were don, they talked somewhat while eating sunflower seeds, and when also the dishes were done they left. They were barely here more than 2 hours!