Shanghai is very convenient and simple to get around. Taxis are only a couple of bucks, a metro ride is only 50 cents and Zane now started taking the bus to work which is only about 30 cents a ride. Traffic is crazy though. There are so many buses, bikes, scooters and cars……and they all honk at each other…..all of the time. People run red lights and don’t follow much of any traffic rules but somehow it works. It is organized chaos with not much regard to pedestrians. We find ourselves wanting to kick taxi cabs as they speed in front of us when we have the right away. The locals tell us the traffic rules are only suggestions, not laws. Ha!
The food has been amazing and cheap. We can get lunch for about 2 bucks and dinner for about 5-10 bucks each if we eat local. Our absolute favorite eating experience has been with a Szechwan-owned restaurant located down a little alley. The family makes the noodles for each dish right in front of you by rolling out the dough, separating and pounding it out in a unique fashion until it forms into perfectly shaped noodles, and then throws them into boiling water and is ready in just minutes. It was absolutely amazing to watch and we got it on video. Both of our large, delicious noodle dishes were about 4 bucks total and the family was so kind. You don’t find much customer service in this country so their warm smiles were a nice change. We are told that Shanghai has the best customer service in China which is laughable. Since there is no tipping they don’t have an incentive to be nice to you. You wave and yell down your server at a restaurant when you want to order or pay. This is such a change since we both have spent so much time in the restaurant industry. I don’t think this method would go over well in the states.
There are bakeries on every corner which we were surprised about. They sell lovely breads, croissants, sweets, and meat filled buns. They have these cute little buns that are in the shape of panda heads, Morgan you would love to eat these!
Everyone is quite fashionable around here. The ladies wear very high heels, short skirts, animal prints and Uggs with a lot more fur on the outside. There are shopping malls and small boutiques on every corner. Whoever told us we wouldn’t be able to buy clothes in our size was hugely misinformed. Many people wear large rimmed fake glasses without any lens in them. Because of the pollution many of the women wear face masks. But they are fashionable face masks with fun printed fabric or animal faces on them and some even have ear muffs attached to them. Very stylish.
We gave our local teachers a laugh last week. We had to do a delicate load of laundry but did not know how to read our washing machine as the labels are all in Chinese characters. Being resourceful, we took a picture of it, they translated it for us and know we can read our washing machine! The local Chinese teachers we both work with are great. They now translate our bills, teach us a couple Chinese words and then laugh at our pronunciation of them. Our grand idea of learning Chinese is now a distance thought. The language is so difficult with the 4 different tones and since many people know English it is so easy to get around not knowing the language. The couple of international teachers that know Chinese studied it for a couple years before they come here. So everyone, please lower your expectations of us talking to you in Chinese when we come home! We have however, learned to count to 10 with one hand in Chinese. This is very useful when we are shopping in local markets and trying to pay for things.
Tune in next week to hear more about the Chinese culture!