02 September 2011

6 down, 10 to go (in Shanghai)

Wow! I have now spent 6 days in Shanghai, China. In some ways, I still can't believe that I am here. For that matter, I still find it quite unbelievable sometimes that I've been living in Finland for the last 12 years. How did I, a small town girl from the west coast of the USA, manage to end up in Finland and now Shanghai?! I tell you, the life I live would never have been possible without the internet. I LOVE the internet and all of my friends in and on it.
Anywho, enough about that, I just wanted to give a quick update on some of my many thoughts and experiences during these 6 days in Shanghai.
I've seen and experienced so much here in the short 6 days that I've been here. It's been a bit confusing at times, but mostly it has been great! It's late (just after midnight) Friday night and it's been a long week, so I'm just going to do bullets for now. Enjoy!
  • Food - The food is just amazing here. I am totally loving everything I've eaten. It's cheap too! Have you ever had a huge, fill-you-up soup or rice meal lunch for just 2€/$2.5? This evening was the first time I've eaten western food all week and that was because our team leader at work went and got us some KFC for a snack. (This topic will have a full post of its own, with pictures, later.)
  • People - The sheer number of people is just amazing. There is over 23million people in Shanghai! Walking through one of the many malls in my 'neighborhood', even at 9pm, it is full of people. The only times I've seen malls that full in the US and Finland is around the holidays or when there a huge sale going on. I do have to say, it hasn't been so packed that I've felt clausterphobic, but then again, I haven't been in the metro at rush hour. I'm told that it is packed with people like sardines.
  • Toilet paper - In several places I've been (one place even had a sign on the wall), people put toilet paper in the garbage can instead of in the toilet (to be flushed). I haven't asked anyone about it yet, as I'm not sure how to approach it. I just find this strange.
  • Weather -  It's been roughly 30C (86F) degrees each day and even into the night. The weather is such, that it reminds me of summers in So. Cal when I was little. I love it! I haven't been cold once.
  • Traffic - Everyone drives everywhere regardless of the markings on the road. And horns are used all the time to mean any number of things. I don't think I'd ever want to drive here. Thankfully, taxis are cheap. (Another topic that I'm thinking of posting more about.)
  • Hotel - When I first arrived, the hotel room smelled musty, damp and moldy. I've turned the air conditioner off in the room and opened the window, it's much better! I've even put a piece of paper over the air conditioner controls with an X on it. I don't want the thing on, I think it makes the room smell even more and it also makes it cold! I want warmth. I also don' t understand why hotels (this isn't the only one) put a sign in the room saying that they'd like to conserve water and if you want to help. If you don't want your towels washed, then keep them hanging. If you want them washed, put them on the floor. I don't mind using my towel a couple of days in a row and so I hang my towels up, yet each day I come home I have all new clean towels! Why oh why put that sign up if it doesn't mean anything?
  • Language - What an interesting language! I know 2 words: Xié xié (thank hyou) and ni hao (hello). I would like to learn more, but with losing my voice (that'll be another post), I just can't make many of the sounds needed to (try to) speak Chinese. I'll try a few new words this weekend as my voice gets better. Also, the Chinese characters fascinate me to no end. They are just so interesting. Each little line, the thickness, angle and tales all change what is means. And even how you combine characters changes the meaning of things, which really isn't so different to English or any other language, except for the fact that I understand these characters. (Think of the word honeymoon. Honey and moon by themselves mean something totally different than when they are combined.)
  • Shopping - So many shops with packages and products that are very different than what I'm used to. This is one of the worst places for people like me. I'm a crow and I'm totally attracted to anything that glitters, shimmers and shines. This is fun!!!
And with that last point, I'm off to bed so I can get up in the morning for a fun and exciting day and weekend. I've got places to see and money burning a hole in my pocket.

p.s. I can't access Blogger or my site here in China (thank goodness the posibility to do email postings), except for while at work. And well, while I'm at work I really should be working. So, that means that I don't really have time to reply to anyone right now, but I love comments and will do what I can to catch up when I'm back in Finland.