Well, the flight to Chicago was very basic. I met a couple from Minnesota. I talked to them for a little bit and then took a nap. When I arrived in Chicago, I found my gate and chilled. No one else was there that I knew. I talked to a couple people on the phone and fell asleep for a little bit. Then, I went and got a little McDonald’s and when I went back to the gate Amy and Anne arrived. We boarded the plane, got situated and sat. I had one man next to me who ended up talking to me the majority of the flight. His name was Fisher (his English name) and was Chinese. He had been in Austin, Texas for a month with some students of his and he showed me every single picture he took there. I slept maybe a couple hours and even though the window seat was open, he decided to sit next to me the entire time. Oh well☺
So the moment you step off the plane into the tunnel you can feel the heat and humidity. As Fisher was telling me there is air conditioning in China, but American air conditioning is AWESOME! Haha! We had to hand in little sheets that we filled out about our health and where we sat on the plane. After that you step into a line for foreigners to have your passports checked. While we (Amy, Anne, and I) were waiting in that line a couple overheard our conversation about RBIS (our school) and we got to meet Josh and Quinne. They are a teaching couple from Wisconsin who will also be teaching at RBIS. We all headed to baggage, got out things and headed out to the area where people can meet you. You have to walk through these rows (like waiting in line for a roller coaster) and on the outside of the metal rails are tons of people waiting for whomever they came to pick up. We kind of felt like celebrities because it snakes around and such. Crazy! We got to the end and met Rebecca (the principal), Linda (the early-childhood coordinator) and Rose (she was also on the plane coming over to teach). We headed out to the bus and loaded our 18 suitcases and whatnot into it and headed for our hotel. From a first look, driving from Pudong to the hotel, Shanghai is very green and lush. There are lots of trees and plants. There is a major mix of new and old style buildings. A lot of the buildings are very eclectic and cool. Shanghai-nese also drive pretty crazy! Lots of taxis!!!!
When we arrived at the hotel, we set our luggage in the rooms and left. Rebecca and Linda took us for a little walk around the neighborhood to show us international ATM’s and the China Mobile store where we would eventually get our cell phones (that adventure will come later in the story). At the ATM it is in Chinese and English. At the end they ask you if you would like advice. What it is really trying to say is would you like your receipt. We all decided we would rather have the advice☺ Then, we all got in taxis to head to the Hong Mei area, which has a lot of shops and restaurants and other foreigners. Rebecca and Linda left us at this point. We walked down this pedestrian walkway with lots of restaurants and ended up running into Priya who is also from Chicago and had just arrived in Shanghai a few days before us. She is teaching at a different international school here. We chatted for a second and then went on the way.
We all decided it was time for beer-ASAP! We chose Nancy’s Bar. The menu had some Chinese food on it as well as hot dog and fries, hamburgers, and some sandwiches. Two people order hot dogs and both decided they made a bad decision. I had a mixed sandwich that was not that great. Basically, the only person who enjoyed their food was Quinne who ordered Chinese food. We did enjoy the fries though and of course the Tsingtao (a brand of Chinese beer, in case you didn’t know). We all were pretty tired-I was falling asleep at the table-so we headed back to the hotel and called it a night. I was planning on showering before bed-didn’t happen. Once I laid down I was out.
Just a few more things about the day: There is a lot of construction going on in Shanghai and things are getting done very quickly. They are getting ready for the World Expo in 2010. Also, there are lots of odd smells-some much stronger and more awful than the last that are difficult to get used to. Lots of people smoke in China. The locusts are loud as hell-everywhere. When walking around, you have to be very cautious. Anyone with wheels will run you over! You couldn’t pay me enough to drive in this city.
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