i've been here a week now, and it's very exciting! the bit of jet lag i had has just about worn off, so now i come to you from an internet cafe a few blocks from the college.
shanhai is very big. that sounds like a fairly simple statement, but the only other adjective to describe it is 'crazy,' which is only slightly more eloquent. seriously, there are people everywhere pushing you out of the way, darting in front of cars, or running you down on their bikes just to get to where they want to go. and the cars here all almost run into people. it's nuts. and at night the city is alive with neon-- think if times square and the las vegas strip reproduced and put their kid on steroids. that's shanhai.
everything here is really cheap, though. 20 minute taxi rides are 24 yuan, with 8 yuan to the dollar. everyday i spend about 2.5 yuan on lunch, and even when i go out it's only like 25 yuan at a decent restaurant.
i did lots and lots of shopping and walking yesterday. my teacher took us out walking around a few shopping areas. it's amazing how almost every store is american or american-esque. yesterday we had lunch at this vegetarian chinese restaurant called the vegeatery, and it was SO SO good. my favorites were the pumpkin soup and the watermelon "chicken." there were lots of meats made out of bean curd but they actually tasted like meat. oooh, i want to go back! i also bought 8 dvds yesterday for no more than 20 american dollars. i bought perhpaps love, the promise (chen kaige's new movie that i missed in the theater), riding alone for thousands of miles(recent zhang yimou movie), farewell my concubine, 2046, the white haired woman, and some other ones i didn't know but that came highly recommended. and for 2-3 bucks a piece, i could resist. i also bought an antique tibetan ring from this really cool shop that made me think of rachel(i would have bought you something, rachel, but it's a little expensive...), and i also had two qipao dresses made for me, which i shall pick up soon. so in short, i spent lots of money. however, i didn't waste any. so there you go. out professor took some of us to see her childhood home (i really like the area-- very china. not upscale poshy, but nice, as well as quiet and seemingly friendly).then we went to eat hot pot. this was my first time eating hot pot, and it is so good. it's a hot broth soup in the middle of the table and you put in veggies or meat or whatever you want in it and then you all share. so good! more shopping followed...
a few nights ago my friends and i went to a xinjiang restaurant. xinjiang is an area in central china (i think) with a muslim population, and their food is incredible. they had this tasty bread stuff ,and the lamb we ordered was the probably the best meat i've had in my life.
i also have tons of class. 5 hours a day, but i'm out of my room from 8 to 4, thne 2 hours of homework and tutoring twice a week. plus, we have a quiz every morning on the chapter we learned the day before, at a pace of one chapter a day. it's a little intense. but this wsaturday we have class (ick) because next monday we're going to the suzhou province. we have saturday class the next week too because the following monday we're going to zhouzhuan, a village, which i am really excited about.
anyway, i'm not used to all the salt and oil in chinese food, so i am ALWAYS thirsty. but, against the advice of my grandfather, i have been eating non-peelable fruits, and i have had no problems. plus, there are fruit vendors on campus everyday, and the fruit is really good. i've bought mango, cherries, leechees, and some fruit that has no american name, but is very tasty.
um so i guess i'll wrap that up. for those of you reading this, it's tomorrow here. isn't that cool? i think so. alright, off i be. zaijian!