Published: February 16th 2009February 16th 2009
上个周末我去了苏州。*Last weekend I went to Suzhou*. USAC had another field trip to Suzhou, which was about a 2-hour bus ride from Shanghai University. The bus left at around 9 am and I was TIRED. I pretty much slept the whole way. First we went to Humble Administrative Garden. It was basically a garden with a lot of mini bridges, water, and trees. The scenery was beautiful, so I definitely took some pictures. Outside the garden were some shops so I spent some time buying souveniers and a flute thing called a Tao Xun. The Tao Xun is a handcrafted flute that looks like a grenade. They came in different sizes with the biggest one being 85 kuai and the smallest one being 40 kuai. I told the guy that I was Chinese-American and was able to bargain the price of the largest one for 40 kuai. After the garden, we went to the Suzhou No. 1 silk factory. I definitely remembered that place right when I got there, since I went to Suzhou several years ago. Everything was the same as it was several years ago. I remember last time there was a fashion show, but we did not get to
see one. I saw the room to that auditorium, so I opened it and it looked exactly the same. I remember last time I was really excited to see asian girls in silk :-X. Right afterwards we ate lunch, and it was SO GOOD. I'm getting hungry just thinking about the food we ate. After lunch we went to Tiger Hill (another place that I remembered). In a nut shell, Tiger Hill is a burial site where thousands of swords are buried and there is a battlefield with a leaning tower. By 3:30pm, it was time to return back to Shanghai. I sat next to my friend Rochelle and we played Mario Kart DS the whole way back :-)
Today I decided to get a gym membership at Star Gym in Daning Plaza. Shanghai University does not have an on campus gym, so most of the students who give a shit about their body/health either go to Star Gym or some ghetto ass gym near McDonalds around the corner from Yanchang Rd. For the past month, I have not done anything active, so I decided to change that. In addition, I will be able to expose myself to new
areas/situations in Shanghai. Most students here play basketball or some kind of ball game to keep themselves active, but I do not. I have classmates who are members at both places and the ghetto gym is 200 kuai/month, and Star Gym is 300 kuai/month. I think Star Gym is a little bit closer to campus since you only have to cross one street. In addition, Star Gym is in a nicer area (the plaza for the Four Points Sheraton), so I decided to settle with it. When I got there they had to get an English speaking person to talk to me so I could sign up for a membership. After filling out some paperwork she asked me if I was a student at Shanghai University. She mentioned one of my classmate's name, and we ended up talking for a good 45 minutes after taking care of business. Turns out she was a student in Suzhou, so we had a conversation about Suzhou. Every now and then I tried to speak in Chinese just to practice. I had my translator with me, and that definitely came in handy. She said next time, she's going to invite my classmate and I
to her house to eat dumplings, so that will be interesting. I'm supposed to return in two days to get my membership card so I can start using the facility. I'm really excited to start going there. The equipment looks new, there are lockers (number one priority, because I don't want to get my shit stolen), and it's in a nice area. Since I signed up for 3 months I had to pay 900 kuai, which is a little pricey in my opinion, since 900 kuai can get you a lot here in Shanghai. I decided to use my credit card since I felt that it was a big purchase and I just went to the ATM machine to pay back Josh for the First-class plane ticket from Harbin. I think that the membership will give me more opportunities to use my Chinese and stay healthy at the same time, so there are no regrets.
I feel a lot more comfortable here in Shanghai (more so than in the U.S. surprisingly). Most of the places that I go to have the same staff working everyday so everytime I go, the workers know who I am and know what I
Humble Administrative Garden
"I think Jeremy can fit in that hole"
*Jeremy climbs into the hole*
"OH SHIT...he's in the hole!"
want (which is amazing after only being here for a month). With that, you get better service and it feels more comfortable. I go to two different bubble tea places, and at both places they always know what I want. Sometimes I don't even have to open my mouth, but I order it anyways just to practice. On my way back from Star Gym, I ran into the guy that works at the Xiaolongbiao stand that I like to go to, so we had a little conversation. He was on his bike on his way to work. I guess in a way I am an easy person to remember because I'm the Chinese guy that can't understand Chinese HAHA.
There are more photos below