Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Shanghai Visit

I am living in a city of almost 5 million people, but most people have never heard of it. Lately, I have started telling people I am living in Shanghai, since that avoids the discussion of, "where exactly is Wuxi?" But I want to fix all of this today. Below is a map! Check it out.

Now you know where I live! I am that little dot north-west of Shanghai.

Yesterday I got to travel into Shanghai for work. Since there were no seats on the trains, a car and driver were hired. In the US, this would cost a lot of money, but in China these things are affordable. I didn't get to see much since I was working, although I did try eel and crab tofu for the first time. If you know me and my eating habits, that is a big step I took!

It is May Holiday and over 17 million people are out traveling on the trains, buses, and planes. This means that tickets are hard to come by. However, this afternoon I successfully scored tickets to and from Shanghai. Tomorrow I will go to Shanghai and meet up with Shaun. Hopefully we can get some tickets to a nearby town to do some sight seeing over the next few days. If not, Shanghai has plenty to see and do.

My language skills are improving. I have been ordering food and drinks with a little bit more ease. Buying the train tickets was difficult but they actually understood a few words I said. That was encouraging. I often think I am speaking nonsense when I try to say something in Chinese and most of the time I get looks from the listener that confirms this suspicion. However what keeps me going, besides my aching belly asking for food, is that twinkle of light that shows in their eyes when I get it right. Success feels soooo good!

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