29 Jan Blimey, mate. Celebrating Australia Day in Shanghai, and other adventures
We settle in quickly, us Australians. The Shanghai Gang, aka the new interns, have all taken Shanghai by the horns and we’re not getting off anytime soon. I’ll give you a bit of insight of how we’ve spent our first few days in this glorious urban city.
The new intake of interns consists of mostly Australians and a few Americans, a mix of both undergrad and postgrad, which makes for an interesting bunch. I’ll be completely honest, it’s pretty much the Aussie’s making fun of the yanks, but they love it and we love them. I think they’re everyone’s favourite; as a group, we spend so much time just focusing on them, asking them questions, comparing our cultures, much like what we do when we sit down with a Shanghai local who can speak English. We’ve become like a little family, to be frank. It’s quirky how quickly people can become this close. This experience is well worth it, not just for the internship, or the travel, but for the people you share the experience with.
So what have been up to apart from work and family dinners (no but seriously, we eat a lot)? We explored the French Concession, which was interesting. Fellow intern Tom, in all his wisdom, was like “Let’s go to this really nice suit shop, it’s meant to be pretty cheap!”, and off we went, a good eight or ten interns walking along the French Concession, not really sure where we’re going, but alas we find this place. Not mentioning store names, but we go inside asking for a price… Let’s just say it would’ve been cheaper to get a suit in Australia. Good one, Tom. Nah, it was good to venture out that way, we found heaps of little cafes, shops, and cool places to come back to at a later date.
Speaking of suits, we ventured the Fabric Market that same weekend only to find that most of it had closed down for two weeks over Chinese New Year. Devastation was almost upon us, when a small Chinese lady came running towards us. Sherry’s mother, she turned out to be, and Sherry served us well. Six of us got measurements taken in this little store outside the Fabric Market and luckily we did it then, because apparently all the factories would be shut down for the month, meaning we might not have been able to get suits after this day. Piece of advice? Make sure you know all about trading hours and how public holidays affect businesses over here. Comes in handy.
Now, I mentioned the Metro system in my last blog post, but here’s a typical scenario when catching a taxi. Picture this: you’re standing on the side of the road, four lanes going one way, four lanes the opposite. You step out onto the road, just to get a taxi’s attention. Fifty speed past you instantly, not stopping. One finally does after a minute or two. “Luijiabang Lu” you say, wanting to go to the Fabric Market. They shake their head… too far, wrong direction, they don’t like the fact you’re a foreigner, whatever the reason, they drive off. It takes a while, but you finally get a taxi. Then you’re in a scene from the Fast and Furious franchise. I’m not even exaggerating…much.
Something devastating occurred to me a short while before this trip: I would miss Australia Day. The idea of not spending a day in the pool with beers and a good ol’ sausage sanga, blasting the Triple J Hottest 100 and scoffing down lamingtons was ghastly. Luckily, Triple J broadcasts internationally via their website, and we found an Aussie bar doing snags on the barbie, so we were set. Not to mention, we attacked Will, the China Program Director, with fake tattoos. Too good.
I legitimately have so much to tell, might have to become a regular blogger or something. Anyway, til next time.