Published: April 12th 2009April 12th 2009
Campus in Spring
Right outside my dorm
It's been a while, or it feels like it anyway. I haven't had too much to write about lately. We had midterms this past week, so the past couple of weekends have been fairly quiet; traveling limited to Shanghai.
Now that it's Spring, I've been able to play more volleyball than before. But pick-up volleyball games here are a little different than at Umass. With 33 million people in the city, and who-knows how many traveling through campus, games end up with a lot of random people. No introductions, or "nice to meet you"'s. Also, one part of the culture here is to not wear work-out clothes. People often play sports in jeans (unless they're serious about it) or in business suits (if they're on their way home from work). So, the other day I ended up playing volleyball with a bunch of random people, including one in a suit and one talking on a hands-free phone. It depresses me a little that the guy having an in-depth conversation on his phone was playing better than I was!!
On Friday, as a part of my Cultural Studies class, I went to a Chinese opera. I actually
didn't even realize it was a Chinese opera until I got there...I just heard "free ticket" and got excited, only to realize I couldn't understand anything that was going on. Before the show, I stopped by the fake market, because the theater is located right near it. After buying myself some nice shoes, I ended up sitting through three hours of Chinese opera. It was long and tedious, after the novelty of it wore off. Then there was a huge traffic jam and it took an hour and a half ride in a taxi to get home (subway closes at 10:30). So, it was a long night that I don't really care to repeat!!
On Saturday (yesterday), myself and 3 friends went on an expedition around Shanghai. We first went to Qipu road, where "the residents of Shanghai shop". It was like my guidebook described, cheap...and cheap. Cheap quality, cheap clothes. And it's obviously not a big tourist stop, as we got all sorts of stares and comments as we shopped around. I got a really cute skirt for cheap money. The only problem is that all the clothes come in Asian styles and sizes. My skirt size is
an XL, and for those of you who know me...well, that's a bit laughable. But, all in all, it was a fun time, and I plan on going back soon!
Two people in our group split off and headed back home after Qipu Road, so Kyle and I continued onward to our next destination. According to my guidebook (which usually never steers me wrong!) there is a T-shirt shop that has all sorts of T-shirts with propaganda and Party slogans-a fun souvenir to bring home! During our search, we learned some important things about Shanghai. First, there is an amazing English book store in the French Concession part of town. I was exceedingly happy when we stumbled upon it. Everything was very overpriced (shocking!), but the atmosphere was great. They were even having some German wine-tasting shindig going on, and kept trying to offer Kyle and I free wine, but we were too focused on the books. I think I may have been drooling a little over the sight of so many English books...Second important lesson learned-how Shanghai numbers their buildings. Yes, one side of the street is odds, and the other evens. But they run independently from each
other. Across the street from the book store (# 395) was #566. A little confusing, right? But, eventually we found the number we were looking for...too bad it was only a number tacked to the side of the building and there was no store to go with it. So, that part of our journey was a bust. To make up for it though, I found a bootleg copy of the new X-men movie! No, it hasn't come out yet, but some of you may have heard of the rough cut version being leaked a couple of weeks ago...well, you can count of those Chinese pirates to pick up on that. Great movie! I suggest you all see it when it comes out.
Today I went to church. It is Easter, after all. That was an interesting experience! Reading Chinese hymnals is definitely new to me. Mass was going along nice and speedily until the Sermon lady got started-she went on for almost an hour! And other than the whole "Jesus died and rose again 3 days later" thing, I have no idea what she said. After church, my friends and I went to the fabric market. I went last
Sunday and ordered a custom-made qipao, and had to return a week later to get it. And that's all folks! Next weekend will include some traveling outside of Shanghai-to Nanjing, I hope-so look forward to that!!
PS-Happy Easter everyone!!
There are more photos below