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Published: July 11th 2011
We took a taxi to the hotel in Pudong (not allowed to talk about it but we got a good rate at a nice hotel and if were up to me, you know I'd share, overshare and share some more but what can you do when your traveling partner is a man who shares less than you? (It was a really nice hotel!)
We checked in, did not even consider a lie down or we knew we'd be doomed to sleeping and not adjusting to the time. So out into the swamp weather we went. We took the subway to Nanjing Xi Lu. We were heading to get subway cards and phone numbers. The subway by our hotel didn't have any subway cards in sight. Lots of empty machines for them, but no vendors selling. So we bought 1 way tickets and headed to our stop. We found subway cards right away. We reminisced about the extreme effort it took us to find these cards when we first went to Shanghai. It was a madcap adventure of mistakes and lack of understanding. Just to get subway cards. There were several blog posts about it I think.
This time, we a)
mark at china mobile
check out that contract...
knew how to ask for them in Chinese, and b) knew where to find them (anywhere BUT the ticket counter at the subway station).
Then it was on to the China Mobile store we knew from past trips to deal with phone issues, pay bills, etc.--to reactivate Mark's cell phone. Before we left Shanghai, he had put it on hold so he could have the same number upon any return trips. I said to him as we were walking in "Don't expect this to go smoothly" and he agreed that it was a very long shot that this would work at all. We lived in China. We know how it can go. But shock of all shocks, he got the number turned back on, they gave him a new SIM card with that number (we lost the old one) and it was pretty pain-free. I did not freeze my number so I bought a new number. I got to pick my number--which matters to Chinese people (they want lots of lucky 8s and no 4s because 4 sounds like the word for death in Chinese). My number has a 4. I am not Chinese. People stand at the machine
to review available numbers for a long time. It's a thing. I spent approximately 4 seconds choosing my number (there I go with the bad luck again).
So we had our phones and our subway cards. We were unstoppable.
When we left Shanghai, they were tearing down all these really cool, old restaurants to make room for more modern, high end brands. Sadly, they completed the tear-down and now Shanghai can boast a Gap in its place along with a shiny Carls Jr. Boo, I say.
The jetlag was starting to hit and we were very yawnish so we had an early dinner at our favorite spot, Din Tai Fung. This place is so good and it never disappoints. We had our favorite dishes, xiao long bao, green beans with pork, and spicy cucumbers. Mark had dan dan mian (peanut saucy noodles) and I had my all-time favorite soup, suan la tang (hot and sour soup). I spoke to the waitress in Chinese--my first real attempt at sentences and she was so forgiving and praised my Chinese (thanks for that nice waitress who lies). She laughed at my attempted jokes (who knows what I really said with
milk for coffee, beer, and water. hydration.
the lack of practice and the jetlag kicking in).
All the basic words and phrases are coming back to us though. It is reassuring. All that effort to learn Chinese and we have retained quite a bit. I have what is probably too much confidence in myself. Such a contrast to our first trip here. I stumble and babble in Chinese and have found it mostly works fine.
We refused to pay for Internet and found free wi-fi here and there. The best spot was the Apple Store. Thanks, Apple store. We would head there and get our fix, download mail, email the family, and move on to the next activity.
We called it an early night--or at least I did. I took 2 melatonin and that's all I remember about our first day.
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