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Asia » China » Shanghai
June 28th 2006
Published: July 11th 2006
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It's been two days here in China, and we've finally got our internet access working in our dorm. Yesterday we had an orientation session that was only slightly useful, I bought my phone cards, and we went to the "fake" market, where they sell all the imitations of designer stuff. I got myself a Rolex :-) although it feels and looks a little bit fake (it's pretty obviously aluminum in places it should be stainless steel). I also bought some sunglasses and a belt. After that we had dinner at a nice restauarant - and by the way, the food here has been really good and a good value for what you get. But I'm sure that I will tire of Chinese food quickly, so I'll have to scope out the city for some alternative eats.
Speaking of which, Shanghai is HUGE - it makes LA and NY look dinky by comparison. Finally, after dinner we came back to the dorms, showered, and went to an Irish pub where we watched some futbol (a terrible referee call in the last minute resulted in a penalty shot allowed Italy to beat a more deserving Australia) and drank a couple pints of Carlsberg. After the game ended we headed over to another bar for a little while, and then made our way home. Today I went downstairs for what I thought was an 8:30 class in "survival chinese," only to find a sign i didn't see the night before that said it started at 8, so the group was nowhere to be found. Oh well. The class will be every Tuesday and Thursday at 8:15 from here on out.
The second class is the one for which we're here, and we had our first lecture today. I was very unimpressed with the Professor's style - he's scatterbrained and sloppy in his lecture style, which is fitting since the organization of this program has been that way since the start. A lot of the things people who did this program in the last two years raved about have changed, like the location and the professor.
Our university is pretty far from the sights and the nightlife, but at least the public transportation here is excellent and inexpensive. After class today we had a fieldtrip to the Shanghai Urban Planning Museum, which was pretty cool - there was a scale model of the entire city that they continually update to keep ahead of all the construction here in the city. It's amazing how much different it looks now than the pictures from just 15 years ago.
Well, after the museum we went out for a Szechuan dinner, and it was pretty good, but mild because the people I went with are not so used to the spicy heat of Szechuan cooking. Aside from that, I've just been hanging out tonight in the dorm. Right now I'm watching Brasil destroy Ghana in World Cup soccer, as expected (I'm sure Luana is thrilled), but I'll be heading off to bed soon.

I'd give you a postal address, but I probably wouldn't get anything you send before I leave. Apparently domestic mail is really fast, but international is very slow.

All my love,

Ben

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