It’s a holiday weekend in China (Dragon Boat Festival) and a lazy Sunday – Happy Father’s Day! As I feared updating this with any regularity will be difficult given a severely restricted internet and wifi speeds that range from slow to non-existent. I had hoped to insert a gallery of one of my recent site visits, but I’ve only been able to upload four pictures in three hours (I am currently at .3 kb/s).
So – here is this week’s
WHAT I’VE LEARNED
Never be a single westerner in a densely-populated tourist area. I’ve taken to wearing earbuds and speaking in French just so prostitutes, pimps, black-market dealers and all manner of grifters leave me alone. It doesn’t work. But at least I can listen to classical music amongst the chaos. Two particularly horrific areas were two that I was eagerly looking forward to; the old town area near Yuyuan Gardens (the gardens themselves were very nice) and East Nanjing Pedestrian Shopping Street. Both felt like running a gauntlet without any weapons or armor. The same thing happens every day in Vegas or New York or countless other cities in the States. but I know how to handle it there. Unless I visit with a group I can’t think of any reason to go back.
Two areas I love are People’s Square and Xintandi. People’s Square is like a mini Central Park in the middle of Shanghai. The day I visited was “matchmaking” day. I don’t know if it’s an officially sanctioned event but everyone was doing it.
Imagine thousands (tens of thousands) of parents and grandparents lining the tiny walkways in People’s Square park – all with opened umbrellas on the ground. Clipped to those umbrellas is a laminated piece of paper with the description of the child that they are trying to marry off. It was a bit surreal. When I asked people at work about it they explained that young adults are too busy with work to date, so their parents and grandparents try to “help them meet a wife.”
Xintiandi (shin-tyan-dee} is a beautiful area filled with upscale shops, tree-lined streets and some beautiful concession-era buildings. If I ever were to live in Shanghai (and believe me there are thousands of reasons why I never would), Xintandi is where I would want to live. The short walk between the two metro stops that service Xintandi is a treat for shoppers, gourmands, wine lovers and the tragically chic.
I’ve been in my apartment for a week. It is definitely larger than a hotel room but I’m in the ‘burbs. Depending on traffic about 30 extra minutes to work and the subways get a lot more crowded. It is, like EVERY building in Shanghai, right next to a mall. Not as tourist-centric as at the Kerry, but a nice suburban mall. The apartment is in a series of high-rises in a tree-lined park, filled with fountains and ponds (emptied – not sure why) and walking paths.
That’s it for now. Next time I’ll try to add some photos of this weekend’s sightseeing spots, Jing’an Temple and Jade Buddah Temple.
P.S. – I can appreciate non American-centric television. CNN is Hong Kong or Africa based and for some reason HBO has been showing “Men in Black II” on repeat The only other English stations are AXN (non-stop “American Ninja Warrior”) and DIVA (non-stop British cooking series, “My Kitchen Rules 6” – the redemption round.) I’ve struggled to get my AppleTV to work but between internet that requires a secure logon and ever-changing VPNs, so far nothing.