|Ist Day in China|
I have so much that I want to write in here, but for now I will only talk about my first day in China.
For days before my arrival the excitement and nervousment was building inside me. Shaun and I landed at 2:30pm and made our way through customs and baggage claim. His co-worker picked him up and a friend, Joyce, picked me up. So, at last Shaun and I were apart. Good luck buddy!
Joyce and I rode the maglev train to downtown Shanghai. This is the fastest train in the world. It rides above magnets as it floats down the track. We achieved 431 km/hr, about 270 mph. It goes so fast that the track has embankments around the turns. It was great!
Next we rode the subway to the area of town that I would stay the night. As we made our way out of the exit, we tried to cross the street. This was no easy task since the bicycles, motor bikes, cars, and buses were in a line that never ended. But we made it after a few minutes. As we walked to the hotel one side of the street was new and the other side was in shambles. Roofs were missing, walls were missing, but people were still living in the structures.
Joyce got me checked in to the hotel and showed me on a map where I was. I always feel this is important to know. On her way out I had Joyce take me to a restaurant. She ordered fried rice and dumplings for me and took off down the street. I was on my own!
My meal came out and I started to eat. After looking over at the other people in the restaraunt, I realized they were all watching me eat. I was making them laugh. One man did come over and tell me to add some of the vinegar to the soup of dumplings. The others stayed away as they were content to laugh. I could not eat all the food...it was a ton of it and it costed less than a dollar!
Later in the evening I went out. This required me to get on a bus, since I wasn't really thrilled at the idea of a taxi. I knew I would get taken advantage of if I took one. So, I hopped on the bus and the fun began. I knew it costed 2 RMB (25 cents), but the coin I thought was correct turned out to be only a 2 cent coin. A lady started yelling at me. I have no idea what she was saying, but she would not stop. All I had were paper bills. Luckily a guy came up and stuck in a coin for me. I told him it was my first day and he seemed to understand. It was very intense there for a couple of minutes.
I got off at the fourth stop and was treated to the view of downtown that you can see in the pictures I posted. The view is awesome! All the building are on the Pudong side of the river and I was standing on the Puxi (pronounced poo-she) side. I walked around for a while and made my way to Nanjing Rd. This is one of the famous shopping areas.
As I walked down everything imaginable was offered to me by people on the street. I must have looked like a sucker, since they all were coming up to me. I was offered shoes, shirts, and DVDs by several different people, I was offered all kinds of annoying toys that you see on the streets of Europe. But mostly I was offered "massages from nice girls" by dozens and dozens of people.
I got change with a little bit of effort, but I got the point across and jumped on my bus home. This time we stopped nine times before I got back to my place. Why does it stop four times on the way there and nine times on the way back? I will never know.
Today I am off to Wuxi (pronounced woo-she). This is where I will be living for my time here.