13 Jan So far….so good!
My first weekend in China – so far so good! By now I have bought most the things I need to stay warm so I’m fairly comfortable, and getting around in no problem at all (probably the least of my worries!) as the transportation system here is absolutely fantastic. The metro is not as packed as I thought it would be (although I have yet to get on during the morning and evening peak periods) and the “pushing” problem seems to be more from locals above the age of 40. I will update you on this when I start work in 3 days and will have no choice but to experience the metro during the peak hour.
Transport is extremely affordable and I spend approximately 8RMB a day on the metro (depending how far I travel, this is just for a couple stops) and taxis are usually no more than 30RMB to go to most places. Taxi drivers here seem to be quite street smart and to go back to the apartment I just show them my keycard showing the name of the hotel and the address and they will whizz over there. Driving in China is vastly different to driving in Australia. Do buckle your seatbelts and (try to) enjoy the ride! At times you will think you are about to die; you may even have your life flash before your eyes, but don’t worry, trust the taxi driver – they know exactly what they are doing.
Everything they do is timed with precision, don’t hold on too tight as they narrowly miss cars, bikes, even people. Don’t worry! This is China.
Food is very cheap and for a normal meal it can range from the equivalent of a dollar for 8 huge dumplings (not the ordinary ones you get in the freezer section in Australia) to maybe 25-35 Y for a decent bowl of noodle soup. I have yet to try the street food here, which is probably why I haven’t had to use my diarrhoea medication. I probably am missing out, but that’s okay for me. What is surprisingly expensive however, is real milk ($9)!!! And I have yet to find bacon here.Later, Will and Dariusz took us to the Bund. It was a pretty smoggy day, but we still managed to get some clear shots of the country’s trademark Pearl Tower and its City Skyline!
There were masses of people all around us, but as we walked further up the crowd thinned and it was easier to get a pic without 20 people next to you in the shot (however I look terrible in that so I wont be posting that up 😛 ) Then it was exploration time for us and we had a walk around Yuyuan Garden and some alleyways. We had some glassy looking caramel coated strawberries (apologies for the blur photo) and saw an elderly local man making animals out of candy. It was quite a sight watching it being made right in front of us! Definitely something I have only seen in China. Afterwards, we headed back to our area and had a walk around and ended up at the Tian Zhi Fang Art Center. It’s a small place that you can finish in about an hour or 2 and has shops with hand made leather bags, paintings, shoes, and some very nice tea. Worth a look if you got some spare time on your hands though you probably won’t be able to buy much here (some shops are quite expensive)!