I have had a busy week in Shanghai, moving into my apartment, grocery shopping, touring the school, opening bank accounts, new teacher orientation, walking, walking, walking and walking some more, and having medical exams, YUK!
In between this stuff, there was some fun! The school treated us to lunch a couple of times, which was really good and they took us on a riverboat cruise along The Bund. It was really beautiful at night!
I know that I have made some lifelong friends in this first week in Shanghai! The 4th day I was here I received an e-mail at school from Amy that my mom may have had a stroke! I didn’t have a phone yet to call home and I didn’t have my phone from home with me. Tammy just took me under her wing and found a phone for me to call home. It was about 3 in the morning in Oklahoma, but Amy answered the phone. She told me that Grandma was fine, it wasn’t a stroke after all, it was her blood sugar that dropped too low and she passed out. That was good news! I can’t thank my new friend enough for her kindness and compassion.
Later we went on a River Boat Cruise along The Bund, just like they did this season on The Bachelorette. The food was good, the sights were beautiful and I couldn’t wait to go see more. It was just like what I saw on TV.
I have walked 15-20 miles this week. My apartment is ½ mile from the grocery store and internet service at Starbucks. Whatever I buy at the grocery store has to be carried back to the apartment, in the heat. It was hot in Oklahoma when I left, but that was nothing compared to over here! The temperature is lower, but the humidity is so high! I definitely can’t wear things more than once here! WHEW!
Anyway, I will skip to Saturday. After our awful, but interesting medical exams I took my first taxi cab ride all by myself to meet a friend to go shopping! I learned quickly to never leave without my phone, which I had, and don’t leave home without the handy Chinese phrase book, which I had left with my phone. OH gosh, life sucks! Now what? I was really on my own here. Well, thanks to my many years of independence and doing things by myself, I miraculously found the other teacher and we went shopping. It was right near The Bund but I don’t recall the name of the area. A person can shop over here for months and never see all the shops in this area! Holy Smokes! And the people??!! They are EVERYWHERE! I mean everywhere! But I guess there are 23 million people in Shanghai and they have to have somewhere to go!
Anyway, this was quite a shopping adventure. I got my first Prada bag today. Yes, I know it is a knockoff, but it looked nice and it was spelled correctly so I got it. Now how I went about getting it was an adventure in itself.
We met this man on the street and he shoved a paper toward us with all kinds of items on it such as shoes, jewelry, bags, clothes etc. and we were to follow him if we wanted anything. I had gone there for a purse, so off we went. We were led off the main shopping area and into dirty, small alleys. The man we followed knocked on a tiny door, somebody peaked out and waved us in. How legal is this I wondered?! We strolled around and of course their price was quite ridiculous but my new friend has lived in Shanghai for 4 years so there was some great bargaining going on. I ended up with two purses and a wallet. The price went from $3900 RMB to $350 RMB. What a hoot!
Afterward, we had lunch. I had the best food I have ever had in my life. The flavor of these foods is amazing. We had Chinese cabbage, chicken, duck, lotus root, and eggplant. The good news is that neither one of us was sick because you just eat off the same plates. That is a little disturbing considering I am the one who picks up a salt shaker with a napkin and open doors with my elbows so I don’t have to touch anything. It was so good, even with the chicken head staring me in the face! The meal was only about $30US.
After lunch, I needed to head toward home, alone. But where was it? I had no idea! I was going to have to try the subway. Did I mention, alone?? OMG!