13 Jan A few examples of how far your buck can go in Shanghai!
The first weekend in Shanghai started off with the Absolute Internship program orientation. We sat in one of the hotel conference rooms and were fully introduced to the Absolute Internship staff members. In the orientation we learned about Chinese social and business culture and were given some basic Mandarin lessons, the most interesting part for me was learning about the indirect ways people in China communicate in order to avoid embarrassing someone, also known as “losing face”. After the orientation we were given a tour of the surrounding area, we went to the SML Centre where we were shown the food court and the western brands supermarket. We then were directed to the phone store where we had our sim cards activated. In the afternoon we headed to the Tesco supermarket to get some food supplies. While Tesco is a British chain, the Tesco’s in China aren’t British at all, with eye-openers such as live animals like frogs and turtles for sale. We then wandered around the local area a little bit more and spotted some more peculiar sights such as the pet hospital, not a vet, a full on hospital just for pets. On the topic of pets and peculiarities, a lot of people seem to enjoy dressing their dogs with full on clothing in Shanghai.
For dinner we went to the food court in the SML centre, we ordered from a shop that allowed you to pick a whole bunch of raw meats and vegetables to put in a huge bowl that would be freshly cooked. It was great witnessing such a unique concept that you wouldn’t really see in Australia. We shared 2 bowls between the 4 of us, it was a very filling meal and also a very spicy meal after we underestimated how spicy they can make things here. At night we headed out to a bar called Space Café, we headed there using taxi. The taxi’s in China are dirt cheap compared to back home, they also accept payment through the Shanghai public transport card, a very useful feature when you don’t want to mess around with wads of cash. At the bar I learned a Chinese dice game that involves guessing the numbers on the dice each player has. It was quite complicated to explain but became fairly straight forward after playing a few rounds.
On Sunday we headed out to a Dim Sim Brunch organised by Absolute Internship, we went there using the metro system which has more than 10 lines and can take you basically anywhere in Shanghai. When we got off the metro we had reasonably long walk to the restaurant. The main road we walked on was Nanjing Road which was full of luxury brand stores. Brunch was an absolute feast with a seemingly unlimited supply of dumplings, stuffed buns and other treats all being constantly delivered to our table. After brunch we headed towards The Bund, a historical part of Shanghai right across the river from Pudong. We walked for a while and then decided to fast track our way there using the metro. We got of the metro very soon and then found ourselves in a much busier part of Nanjing Road, after walking for a while the Pudong skyline started coming in sight as we got a peek of the Pearl Oriental Tower. We got to the riverbank and had spectacular full view of the Pudong skyline on the other side of the river. In my first blog post I mentioned how this was the sight I was most expected to be wowed by and as seen in the photo attached the view did not disappoint. While we were there we played a hilarious prank where we pretended that one of the interns was a famous celebrity and started mobbing him asking for photos. Soon a big crowd gathered around us all sucked into our antics, it was definitely the funniest moment of the weekend. After we walked through The Bund, we spent the rest of the day exploring Shanghai visiting the Yu Garden and one of the Shanghai’s many fake markets. One of the most interesting experiences at the fake market was seeing “the secret rooms” many shops had which stored better quality goods. For dinner we headed to a local restaurant where we made a ludicrously large order of 100 dumplings plus 6 big bowls of beef noodle soup to share between 12 people, all in all the meal came out to be a 17.5 yuan per person, another astonishing example of the how far your buck can go Shanghai. With work the next day we took it easy that night just relaxing after a very full and exciting weekend. Only 3 more weekends to go, time really flies but one thing’s for sure I’ll be making the most of every minute while I’m here.