17 Jun Ni Hao from China!
Ni Hao from Shanghai! And what an incredible city it is. I’m writing this entry looking out of the window of the brilliant accommodation provided by Absolute Internship onto busy streets with fog-shrouded buildings as far as the eye can see.
The past five days have been something of a blur; incredible food, great nights and spectacular sights. After a bit of a mishap with my flight details leaving me unsure as to whether I’d even be able to board my plane, I was finally on my way to China, and the contrast to the west was immediately clear during the bus ride from the airport to the accommodation; from the rice paddy fields and erratic driving to the strange buildings and exotic smells.
We’ve been treated to delicious meals, and enjoyed cocktails overlooking the fantastic Oriental Pearl Tower. A very peculiar experience for me was the fake market we attended yesterday – counterfeit merchandise everywhere and vendors desperate to force it upon you. I was definitely too quick to make my first purchase rather than hanging back and attempting to get a handle on the bargaining techniques, but I think I got the hang of it in the end. Then, in the evening we saw an unbelievable gymnastics show involving live music, motorcycles, trapeze artists – it really was indescribable.
It’s amazing and a little intimidating how little English the local population know. I’ve attempted to speak a bit of Chinese rather than resorting to my country’s tradition of speaking your own language in loud, patronising tones and making ridiculous hand gestures, and that has been something of a personal victory.
So that’s a little of my experience so far (though I’ll never do it justice with just one blog entry!) Tomorrow I start work. I’m excited but also a little fearful, as I don’t actually have a great deal of experience in the field I’m working in. I will come at it with the right attitude though and hopefully this won’t be immediately apparent, and I’ll let you know how it goes.