Monday, July 28, 2014

"Maybe We Need to Leave Earlier"

Not being a huge horticulturalist myself, I have found the tendency of our hosts to make sure we see every garden in Jiangsu province a bit repetitive but to be fair they really are often quite beautiful. The lotus flowers, buildings with boat shaped roofs layered in clay tiles, winding paths and the bridges over water ways can seem never ending but it is obvious that much effort has been expended in the development of these areas.
Our host in Gaoyou, a city which is some distance to the north of the Yangtze, had arranged a visit to the nearby city of Yangzhou so that we could spend time at Slender West Lake, another scenic garden area. In typical non commital fashion he asked me what time I would like to leave in the morning. Being a great fan of the leisurely wake up routine I tried for 9:30 am, mentally thinking that this was going to be early for me but I was willing to make sacrifices. He countered with saying, "Maybe we need to leave earlier" - translation, "We are leaving earlier."
"Shall we leave at 8 am?" he enquired as if I had a choice. I agreed but apparently this time was just to lure me in because a short while later I was informed that maybe 8 was too late and we should leave at 7 am. I was starting to think that this whole adventure was going to begin at a time which

"Import Intelligence Training Class"

The Kindergarten school in Dantu where our classes were held.
There were always, and still are, many places that I want to visit. I am now spending my second summer in Jiangsu Province mainly because I was a bit lazy this year and joining the group of teachers contracted to provide cultural exchange experiences with Chinese english teachers was a bit of an effortless way to travel. Although we are provided a stipend, accommodation, food and sightseeing, technically we are not working. Since I need to plan lessons, wake up every morning and go to school it does in fact feel like I am working!
The visiting teachers come from Canada, Australia and the US and are contracted by the province's education bureau to exchange cultural information, methodology, and provide the teachers of english with the opportunity to practice their conversational skills. English is taught in most schools here from grade 3 on but mainly through the use of tapes and writing excercises. Many of the teachers have had very little contact with foriegners and therefore not much opportunity to speak English. In many of the cities and towns outside of Shanghai and Beijing the presence of foriegners is a novelty and we will often have children and teenagers practicing their skills by saying, "Hello! Where are you from?"

Since I am spending four weeks in total, two in Dantu and two in the city of Gayou, with these teachers decided to share a summary of the experience that was sent to me by one of the participants in my first placement. Front, as he called himself, could sum up the two weeks with a little more flair than me and besides, he makes me sound so good that I'm not sure he was actually writing about me! (and before you ask, no I didn't bribe him)
Happy training, Harvest gaining
高桥中学 谭华峰
Two weeks' Import Intelligence Training Class for Middle School English Teachers has passed. I felt very happy about the training and gained a lot from it .
Our teacher, Terry, comes from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She is a very kind and learned lady. During the training, she tried her best to help us learn about as much she did in her work in Canada as she could. She is not only our teacher, but our friend as well .
In her classes, Terry told us many things about Canada, including symbolic things, family life, food, fun and games, celebrations about holidays, education, language learning and so on. These made me more familiar with the life that Canadians are having .
In her classes, Terry taught us many strategies of teaching as well as class activities in learning the English language. She participated in our activities, listened to our ideas and thoughts, advised us on how to organize teaching and learning activities in efficient ways, discussed with us the differences in life, education, culture and so on between China and western countries, asked all of us to have a good preparation of a symbolic things in China and presented to the whole class orally.
In her classes,Terry encouraged all of us to open our mouths speaking English as often and bravely as possible.She hoped that we all the trained teachers would express what we thought actively instead of being afraid of making mistakes in pronunciation or grammar. She said that language is just a tool for people to communicate with each other. We don't need to focus on the words, the syntax or the grammar too much, but the topic itself we are talking about. Terry is a good example for me to follow because of her encouraging words, smile and acceptance to her students. Never saying no to a student is really a nice teaching way.
Terry is hard-working. Before class starts, she got everything ready for it. In class, she put all her effort into the contents she taught us, and she even sang or danced if necessary. After the training day ended, she was the last one to leave, putting everything where they were and made some teaching materials for the next day's work.
Terry is high-quality in personality. She is sincere. She does everything honestly and equally. She doesn't cheat in doing anything. She behaves quite well both in class and out of class. She is grateful. Every day, I drove her to the Conference Center for lunch,"Thank you" could always be heard when getting into and out of my car. What a lady with a grateful heart! She always shows us the "positive energy". She believes everyone and everything around us is nice and good. She is my model. On the last day of our training, before she left our classroom for the last time, she put all the waste and rubbish together and threw them into the waste basket. "I won't leave anything messy or useless in the classroom, or others will have to spend much time tidying and cleaning them" she said. I was greatly shocked about her behaviour and words! This is my dear teacher, Terry! This is what I hope to be, a teacher not only teaching the students how to get knowledge, but also educating my students how to be a person full of stong responsibility!
Thank you,Terry! It is you who stimulate my mind of being a responsible teacher! It is you who make me know that how important it is for a teacher to guide his students pass "positive energy" to others and the society ! It is the Import Intelligence Training Class that brings me more than I can get only about knowledge!

I'm sure that some of you who know me are laughing hysterically at some of the comments, especially when it comes to singing and dancing! Not exactly my fortay but I did give it a go!
My class in Dantu.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Ghost Town of Dantu

My first placement this summer was in a small district, Dantu, which means red bandit. I was told that Dantu was one of the infamous Ghost Cities of China; being of an age that had watched numerous old western movies I had visions of broken down shacks and tumbleweeds but in the case of China, the term is a label which, in the West, has become synonomous with at best, poor planning, and at worst, grand scale corruption. Ghost Cities are a phenomenon of the Chinese revitalization scheme which began in the late '70s whereby entire cities, with complete infrastructures were erected but never populated. According to Western media, this was a huge metropolitan experiment, with a pricetag of roughly $500 billlion US, which failed on a grand scale and is an indication that perhaps the current leap forward was doomed to failure. "The ghost city of Dantu has been mostly empty for over a decade,"Business Insider reported in 2010. "In most neighborhoods of Dantu, there are no cars, no signs of life," reported the Daily Mail. (
On the streets of Dantu
A fellow teacher with China Connections had also told us that Dantu was a deserted area with absolutely no people and if we wanted to have any social interaction or shopping we would need to travel to nearby Zhenjiang, the larger metropolitan area located next the the Yangstze. She had been assigned to this district in 2011. I was looking forward to actually having first hand experience with a city such as Dantu, and envisoned myself walking through deserted buildings and streets with my camera ready to record the tangible effects of this social experiment!

Alas, it would seem that either western media reports, often relying on satellite imagery, are highly exaggerated or three years has made all the difference. As we entered Dantu, our guide, Millie, informed us that Dantu was indeed a new District but it was obvious that it was far from "deserted" and not exactly what I would consider a Ghost Town!
Our little store that we go to daily.
Many buildings are still being erected with scaffolding and builders in plain view. Although it is true that the conjestion and traffic of cities such as Shanghai and Beijing is non existent there are people, cars, shops, and businesses thriving in Dantu. There are shops, rent a bike stands, a mall and a very large square in front of the Dantu convention centre in which we stayed. Families gather in the square nightly where stalls and games are set up for children; groups of line dancers are scattered throughout the park as well as some mainly older individuals making slow moving gestures which is the hallmark of Tai Chi. Where-ever I have travelled in China, each evening, someone brings out a boom box and starts playing music and a flash mob of line dancers seem to miraculously appear. This can occur in a park, a mall or just on the side walk. You can't go for a stroll in Dantu in the evening without tripping over a line dancer.
I can't help but wondering if my visit to this reportedly oldest example of a ghost town in China is indicative of the others. I guess the only wasy to truly discover the truth is to visit!
Clearly inhabited buildings in Dantu

Stores and shops in Dantu
Outside the mall in Dantu.
Relaxing in the Dantu Square
Not many ghosts here!
Butcher/Produce shop in Dantu

Family eating outside their shop in Dantu

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Imodium is a My New Best Friend

My lack of postings is an indication of the challenging time I have had in the last two weeks. My stay in Dantu was enlightening to say the least. I usually brag about my stamina and my ability to face all adversity with humour but lets just say I am very glad to have moved on!

I have always been very lucky in regards to health issues when travelling and I guess I just came to expect that I had super powers which helped me to avoid the very common intestinal complaints suffered by many who venture to foriegn lands. Alas, Dantu proved to be my Kryptonite.
It all started with a very nasty blister which developed after wearing a new pair of shoes and partaking in an evening of unabandoned dancing at the clubs of 1912. The first day in Dantu, I begin limping and noticed that the blister had broken open and the surrounding area had become an ominous and worrisome red. I soldiered on, but couldn't help but wonder if I was allowing all sorts of foriegn microbes to enter my bloodstream through the open sore. When standing started to become painful I hobbled off to try to find some sort of pharmacy in the hopes of obtaining a tube of Polysporin. I found a shop with a cross and all sorts of medicinal like products and asked the girl, with my Google translator, for an antibiotic cream but she didn't seem to grasp my meaning until I lifted my foot up and showed her my ankle which was now oozing some nasty looking green pus. She grimaced a bit and started a long explanation in Chinese (didn't help me much) and walked to a cabinet. She lifted out a red bottle with a little set of tweezers attached. This didn't look like any antibiotic cream I knew of but she pointed at my foot and at the bottle so, being in quite a bit of pain, I decided it was better then nothing and she was wearing a white smocky thing so she did look quite medical!
Our dining area.
When I returned to my hotel room, I opened the bottle which contained a bunch of little cotton balls soaked in some type of orange liquid. I used the handy tweezers to extract one and dabbed it all around my ankle. I seem to recall that when I was a very clutzy child and had scrapes or cuts that a similar looking product was also put on my many contusions so I felt confident I wasn't putting a substance on my skin that was going to cause my foot to eventually need amputation or anything. Sure enough after three days of having an orange ankle the wound started to clear up and I am happy to say I now just have a small scar! Unfortunately, this is when my stomach started to revolt.
Tried to survive with Rice Porridge
The food at our accommodation was a little worrisome right from the start. The hotel did have one hall of very nice, clean rooms which were used for people visiting the hotel just to eat, but on our first day we were escorted past these rooms and down a hall with garbage strewn around, past the kitchen, which definitely looked like it wouldn't pass any health or cleanliness inspections to a room which seemed to be the staff's lounge when we weren't eating. We were then served a variety of foods which the chef seemed to think Western foriegners would appreciate...a form of poutine which consisted of french fries covered in sweet and sour sauce and raw onions amongst other things. A series of bland and greasy dishes were set before us. We tried to be polite and nibble a bit but by the third day we were starving so we left the table and went to a nearby shop for a container of pot noodles and beer. Our lack of appetite must have been worrisome because at our next meal, our helper person, Millie, showed up and there was a very long discussion, in front of us, with the Chef and kitchen staff. We tried to tell them that we liked the Chinese food and lots of vegetables. At the next few meals the dishes were served and the Chef would stand behind us smoking a cigarette and flicking ashes onto the floor, while we ate, watching intently to see if we were aptly appreciating the delicacies he put before us. A little unnerving to say the least. Unfortunately the food was greasy, cold and often unidentifiable. Since we wanted to be polite, we gave it a valiant effort.
Chinese Poutine!
Kitchen where our food was prepared
Typical breakfast
By the third day my stomach began making some very odd noises after each meal and I was experiencing ominous cramps which would be so severe that I would need to hold on to the nearest piece of furniture for support until it passed. By the fifth day I was chewing imodium like candy and spending much of my spare time on the toilet. I decided that it was best to just try to eat rice and went out to buy a bunch of bananas to avoid scurvy but despite my best efforts my gastrointestinal nightmare continued for my entire two weeks in Dantu. Ah, the joys of visiting foriegn countries!

Thank goodness for pot noodles!
Food preparation on the streets of Dantu.

Street food in Dantu

A family eating in Dantu

Sunday, July 13, 2014

This is Not the Hilton

Despite becoming culturally immersed in the nightlife of Nanjing until the wee hours, my teaching partner for the next two weeks, and I, were quite proud of our upbeat and chipper attitude as we made our way to our new accommodations the next morning. Actually, we were probably not at our best but we did try to be cheery and engage our host in some witty repertoire about how China compares with Canada but alas, we must have been pretty boring since Millie spent most of the one hour car ride to Dantu quietly snoring in the back seat.
Now, when I am travelling I am not really a Diva about my accommodations and, probably due to my thrifty, some might even say "cheap", attitude, I have stayed in some very unusual and even sketchy places. Most of these I have booked myself and if they turn out to be uninhabitable (large bugs, malodorous aroma, loud and/or ominous noises of unknown origins) then I can simply refuse to stay there and find other digs. I recall booking a room in Myrtle Beach before the days of the internet and TripAdvisor and entering a "3 star" accommodation with cobwebs, live loose electrical wiring, the sound of what was probably an enormous family of rats and very large cockroaches (I might be exaggerating but my memory recalls something in the range of three inches). After taking one step through the door, following as the agent unchained the metal grate over it, I turned around, walked out and headed to the reception to find something in the "5 star" range.
A little DIY wouldn't go amiss!
For our stay in Jiangsu our accommodations are arranged by the hosting district - a district being loosely synonymous with municipality. We are told that we will be staying in a "Chinese" 3 star hotel which means that there will be a bed, an ensuite toilet and shower/bath, and air conditioning. I suppose our new home met these basic requirements and indeed, from the outside and the lobby area, appeared to be quite luxurious by Asian standards but as we alit from the elevator onto the third floor Andrea and I exchanged a look that said, "Uh oh..."
The floor in our dining area.
The smell of urine and stale cigarettes was the first thing to hit us, nay overwhelm us, and we unconsciously took a step back into the elevator rather than forward. The hall ahead was dark and dingy with only two or three flickering working light bulbs, probably to prevent us from seeing the torn wallpaper piteously stuck back up with packing tape or the large stains on the carpeting which may have been caused by someone relieving themselves. We have seen small children squatting, wherever they stand, when nature calls; in fact, clothing for infants and toddlers is designed conveniently split in the appropriate area to facilitate the practice.
Not sure what made this mark on the headboard.
The actual room is large with a small refrigerator, kettle, and two single beds. The beds in China are very firm but these beds are so hard that I did pull the sheet up to see if I was sleeping on a mattress or a four by eight piece of plywood. The carpeting is covered in stains and cigarette burns since it is common practice to drop hot butts, even on carpeting, and grinding them with your feet to put them out. The headboards have large black stains and the wallpaper is torn and taped, but not well enough to hide the mildew growing beneath. The hot water is somewhat sketchy so my morning fun is predicting whether I will have steaming hot water, in which case I will spend a luxurious amount of time lathering and washing my hair, or if the water is tepid at best my ablutions consist of a quick wash of the vital bits! There is air conditioning but even after turning it off, it seems to continue to blast so here I sit, typing this missive while wearing long pants, socks, and a hoody even though it is about 33 Celsius when I step out into the hallway. I have company in my room, in the form of hundreds of little mosquitos but I am trying to get rid of the infestation with this handy little device I have only seen in China which plugs into an outlet and emits some particularly noxious substance rendering the little b#$%#^#s dead and hopefully not causing the human in the room any irreversible unknown health effects!
Andrea trying to keep warm.
I do have a kettle, green tea, and four very nice silk comforters (two are being used to soften the mattress and two to protect me from the cold) so there are some positives. One must look on the bright side of life after all!
I also don't want to give the impression that this is typical of accommodation in China. Both Andrea and I have stayed at very wonderful chain hotels and B and B type places throughout China which have been immaculate and very comfortable. This just doesn't happen to be one of them!

Monday, July 7, 2014

"Leave no man behind!" or Sampling Nanjing Nightlife at 1912

My fellow teachers and I were meeting our hosts at the Hua Dong Hotel in Nanjing and were to be treated to a day of sightseeing. Our hosts try to make this a very full day for all of us but after visiting the City Wall of Nanjing, climbing the stairs at the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, eating a large lunch, and then visiting the first museum only to realize we still had another museum, the Confucius Temple district and dinner to look forward to, a group of us decided to try and make an unobtrusive departure from the tour and head back to our hotel. In our defence, it had rained all morning and we were soaked through despite shelling our 15 RMB for some very attractive rain gear....not.
Climbing the stairs at Sun Yat Temple in my fancy rain gear.

Leaving was not an easy task, as our guide was very stringent about keeping track of everyone and had several helpers along to round up the strays. We told the main guide we were leaving and headed for the gate. We were stopped several times as helpers tried to herd us back on to the bus but we quickly headed down the street. I'm sure we caused our hosts much anxiety as we made our escape, as they are really very concerned that we see all of the "places of interest" and are suitably fed, but we were all quite tired and just wanted to sleep.
Waving a taxi down in Nanjing proved a bit difficult. The taxis have green lights or red lights on the roof but we couldn't actually figure out what the lighting system meant. It didn't seem to matter as every taxi, green or red, rudely ignored our frantically waving hands and refused to stop. We weren't sure if this was because we were such a large group or because we were white....we couldn't change our skin colour but we could make our group smaller. At the next intersection, we split up into two groups and as one unlucky taxi stopped to let his passengers out, Andrea and I quickly jumped in. The driver looked very angry as I showed him my phone with the name of our hotel. I was desperately trying to distract him as my five fellow escapees tried to jam themselves into the back seat. The many people standing on that corner probably now think white foriegners are ridiculous people who don't realize that there is a physical limit as to how many people can fit into the backseat of a Kia. As the smallest member of our group, Haley, tried to prostrate herself across the laps of the other four, the driver realized what was happening and began yelling...didn't need a translator for this...With a total lack of team spirit and abandoning the motto, "Leave no man behind!" Andrea, Honorata, and myself waved through the back window of our taxi to our mates who were left on the sidewalk with one of the helper people convincing them to get back on the bus and resume the tour...still not sure how he tracked us down!
Happily, all of our group did make it back to the hotel and a few hours later, well rested, our little group of six headed off to 1912 to sample a bit of Nanjing nightlife. 1912 is the "happening" spot in Nanjing and is frequented by both expats and trendy, young locals. The area opened in 2004 and took its name from the year Dr. Sun Yat Sen overthrew the Qing Dynasty and established the Republic of China with Nanjing as its capital. 1912 is now located next to the headquarters of the Chinese Nationalist Party. Since we had visited the Memorial for Dr. Sun Yat Sen earlier in the day, it was only fair to check out the nightlife area dedicated to the event!
Tube of beer with snacks for 300RMB
We started out at the Blue Marlin, a chain bar/restaurant, where we shared a very large tube of beer and some complimentary chips and chicken popcorn. We were also given a free shot of tequila by the manager...I assume to lure us inside. The bar has two floors with the obligatory Philippino singers downstairs and a louder group upstairs playing music meant to inspire dancing. The area for dancing actually has a pole...hmm... Drinks are reasonably priced at 35 to 40 yuan. Beer is easy to order but I don't like to be easy and after eyeing up the temtping variety of spirits available behind the bar, decided to order a Canadian Club with ice and water. I did get the CC but the fellow brought it with a tall glass of hot water. The Chinese drink hot water constantly so this would have made sense to the server but I handed the hot water back and said, "Cold water, please."
1912, Nanjing
When he replied, "Evian?" I thought we were all good since this is a brand of water, but he brought a tiny bottle of water and then gave me the bill. He wanted 80 Yuan, 40 for the whiskey and 40 for the water. Being the thrifty person I am, I handed back the water and drank the whiskey neat!
We spent a fantastic evening travelling from bar to bar, sampling drinks, dancing, meeting people and just enjoying the great atmosphere. I would provide more detail and put in a plug for the many other bars we visited that night but unfortunately the effects of the whiskey have left just a foggy memory of an amazing time but few details!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Do You Want to Come to a Tea Ceremony?

The tea ceremony scam seems to be alive and well in Shanghai.
As I came out of the metro stop with the intention of strolling through People's Square and then visiting the Shanghai Museum, a very well dressed young woman approached me and asked if I needed help. Now, I usually like to think the best of people but experience has taught me that when I am travelling in a foriegn country and someone offers to "help me" then it usually means there is something in it for them - my money is the likely target. I told her I was fine and she asked me where I was from. I replied, "Canada," and she made some vague observation about my country of origin. She then asked where I was headed and I said that I planned to walk through the park to the museum. Really, I'm not sure why I continued to chat but at this point she really wasn't being annoying or pushy and I did need to know which direction to walk in to get to the museum.
Next came the pounce..."There is a very important tea festival today that maybe you should visit."
My scam radar went off and I extracted myself by walking away and saying, 'No thanks, I'm just going to the museum. Now, I'm not really sure what the Tea Ceremony Scam involves exactly, but I had some vague recollection of reading about this at one time or another and so I thought it best to keep moving.
I made it about thirty feet to the entrance of the park when a very clean cut looking and well dressed young man, perhaps nineteen or twenty, approached me. He had been taking a picture of a girl who was similarly dressed and then held out his iPhone to me and asked if I would take a picture of he and his friends.
"Sure," I replied and preceded to snap three or four shots. Being a solo traveller quite often, I know what it is like to need someone to take a picture of me at scenic spots so I was happy to oblige. As I handed back the phone the young man asked where I was from and then began to tell me about relatives he had in various parts of Canada. I asked where he and his friends were from and he asked where else I was going to visit. I was not in a hurry so I didn't really mind the chance to chat but my scam radar was alerted again when I told them I was going to the museum.
"Oh the qeue for the museum is very long this morning because of the holiday," (don't know what holiday he was talking about).
"Better you go in the afternoon. We are on our way to a famous tea ceremony," (RRRAAAH, RRRAAAH, RRRAAAH....alarms going off in my head).
"We would be honoured if you would join us." Now, as I said, I am not sure what a tea ceremony scam actually consists of so I was almost tempted...I didn't think they looked like the murdering type and it was the middle of the day...but my less impulsive and saner self prevailed and I made another hasty retreat.
This time I made it to the corner between People's Park and People's Square, where the museum was situated, when I was once again asked if I would take a picture of a couple who once again were very clean cut and well spoken. "Sure, I'll take your picture," I said, "but I don't want to go to a Tea Ceremony." They didn't even try to change my mind and as I walked away I saw them approach the next foreignor. I made it through the morning being approached about five or six more times. By the fourth time my politeness had worn off, I'd stopped taking pictures, and was answering with a very terse, "No!"
Two of the many young people that tried to have
me take their picture and then take me to a tea ceremony.
These groups were really quite talented and the less suspicious minded would probably take them as fellow tourists but I really wondered, as I left the area, if they actually managed to scam people and what the whole process actually was.
The next day when I joined the large group of teachers in Nanjing and was sharing stories of some of our experiences so far, I asked two women who had also been to Shanghai if they had come across the picture taking scammers and how I couldn't believe people actually went with them to a tea ceremony. Both women looked rather uncomfortable and then admitted that they had indeed been 'taken' by this group. I asked them what happened and they said they were taken to a place where various teas were poured out and then they were told that they owed 200 Yuan. This is about $65 which may not seem like a great deal of money but considering a six pack of beer costs about one Canadian dollar, the relative amount is quite high.
Apparently, when the 'ceremony' started they were told it was something like 40 Yuan, which they thought was reasonble, and being polite foriegners they didn't want to offend, so they remained, as various teas were poured and they sampled them. Now, when the pouring finished they were told it was 40 Yuan for each tea sampled. When they objected, the proprietor became increasingly louder and began yelling at them. I suppose this is the intimidation tactic to convince the foriegnor to pay up....I can attest to the fact that a large Chinese man yelling at you can indeed be quite nerve wracking. To their credit, the women didn't succumb completely to the intimidation but put a 100 Yuan note on the counter and quickly left the building.
Apparently, this tea scam continues to thrive, so just watch out for tourists asking you to take their photo in Shanghai.
I did manage to have a great day in Shanghai though and took the Maglev train, a superfast magnetic levitation train (we were going 430 km/hr), back to the airport in the afternoon to meet up with the rest of my teaching group.
Maglev (Magnetic Levitation Train), Shanghai
Butchering meat on Guandong Road.
The underground Pedestrian Tunnel linking the East and West banks of the Huangpu River.
Up close view of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower

Circular Pedestrian Bridge, Shanghai

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Bund, Shanghai

Yep, Shanghai is definitely a very crowded city!
Panoramic view of the Huangpu River, Pudong Bank
After checking in to my hotel, the very swanky Dorsett, I headed down to catch the views at the Bund. This is a waterfront area along Zhongshan Road on the western bank of the Huangpu Rivier. It faces the scenic financial Pudong district on the eastern side. The Bund is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Shanghai. I exited the metro at East Nanjing Road as per the hotel clerks instructions and landed up on an area called The Pedestrian Walkway. This is an area of high end stores and eating spots which, even though it was a Thursday evening, was jammed solid with people. I had no idea which direction to walk so I hopped on a little tourist train thing hoping that it might take me to the Bund. Alas, it did not but a wonderful Korean woman who was visiting Shanghai for business got in beside me. Claire was a wealth of information and as we rode along, ducking the flyers that were tossed in the window every few seconds and narrowly escaping having an eye poked out, she gave me a great introduction to the city. Clare gave me her map but I guess she thought I didn't really look capable of actually following it since she walked me down to the river and along the embankment. She was really a very helpful and interesting person. She offered to take me for dinner but I was feeling rather tired so I declined the offer and decided to just find something on my way back up Pedestrian Street.

View of the Pudong side.

Night time view of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower
Walking up this street, or should I say trying to weave my way through the multitudes of people that spilled over onto the road, reminded me of why China is considered crowded. I dodged and dived up the road as my feet were stepped on by various passerbys and was very thankful that I was only visiting.
Pedestrian Street Shanghai
Tomorrow, I planned to do a little more exploring before heading to Nanjing but for this weary traveller it was time to find a quick bite to eat and a bed!
Terrific dinner for a carnivore like leg. This was sitting in front of me about thirty seconds after I ordered it....