"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page." - St. Augustine

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Orientation Part 2

Alright, let’s pick this up where I left off last time.
Monday, August 29th – Orientation Day 3:
Yeah, that's a whole duck on our dinner table
Old Shanghai Quarter

 Most of the day was more of the same. Breakfast, Chinese lessons, a seminar on cultural differences and living in China, teaching practice, lunch, and more teaching practice. That afternoon, we took a trip to the Old Shanghai Quarter. This was kind of more of what I was expecting of China – street venders and people trying to sell the most random gadgets, crazily busy streets, and beautiful traditional-looking Chinese buildings.  We ate what was definitely the most interesting dinner to date. There was a lot of seafood (bummer for me), a whole fish, a whole duck, and who knows what else. 

When we were done with dinner, we came outside to see all those beautiful buildings lit up and looking A-mazing.

Old Shanghai Quarter at night

It was just starting to rain a little, but we carried on to our boat cruise down the Huangpu river, which we ended up waiting around for an hour for. But it was well worth the wait. The Shanghai skyline looks INCREDIBLE at night. Plus, the clouds were really low, even obscuring the tops of some of the buildings, which made everything look super magical and mysterious. It started pouring rain while we were on the boat, but I didn’t mind. After the massive drought we’ve been experiencing in Texas, and the intense and unrelenting humidity of Shanghai, a downpour was completely welcome!

After the boat, a lot of people decided to stay in that part of town and find somewhere to go. I, however opted for the cheaper option of taking the bus back to the university and finding somewhere around there to go. I headed out with a group of 8 other people to find a row of bars that someone had been to a few nights before. Andrew, one of the guys who’s going to be in Nanchang, a city about an hour away from where I will be, busted out the Catch Phrase at the bar which completely fascinated the Chinese waitresses. And that’s pretty much all I feel like sharing about that night – not my finest hour!
Tuesday, August 30th – Orientation Day 4
The next morning, with a surprisingly mild hangover, we began our last day with more Chinese lessons, our last teaching seminar, and a debriefing session before lunch. In the afternoon I went on the “optional walking tour” which was really a ride on the metro to the Tian Zi Fan “Art” area. 

Tian Zi Fan art district

It was actually a pretty cool place – a labyrinth of little alleyways and hidden stores with all kinds of little arts and crafts and souvenirs, as well as some cafes, bars and dry cleaning stores! 

Art made out of watermelons!
Last was our Farewell Dinner back at the Faculty Club. While some of the food was just as questionable as always, it was nice to have everyone together for the last meal. Oh, and we got some free AMAZING entertainment from Felice, a fellow teacher, who is also an outstanding magician.  After that, some people headed up to bed before early departures the next morning. Since I was not leaving until 5:00 pm on Wednesday, I was in no hurry to go back to my room and pack. I headed out with a group to a bar just around the corner for on last round of beers and a farewell to Shanghai.
Wednesday, August 31st - Shipping Out
I spent my last day in Shanghai packing my bags and taking one last walk around the shopping area near the university. It was a great city and I had a great time getting to know everyone, but I was definitely ready to get settled in in Jiujiang. But more on that next time!

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