02.10.2013 - 02.11.2013
Alright, two posts in one morning. Thank god for my $8 plush hello kitty jacket with ears on the hood to keep me warm ^_^
The last few days have been awesome and I have to get this all written down before I completely forget the details.
Yesterday was Saturday, New Year's Day. We had a super late start, exhausted from the dancing the night before we didn't leave the hostel until 1pm. First things first we wanted to find the Yu Yuan gardens, and our hop on hop off bus ticket was going to expire at 3. So what better idea to getthere then the bus? But where does it pick people up...? So, we stalked the bus, scoured the map and eventually got on. We got on at the stop right after the gardens so we rode the bus through the whole city again. Today though it was packed. There was only room to stand, but I couldn't fit under the roof where the standing area was so I awkwardly stood near the stairs to the second floor. We made it to the tourist bazaar again. This is where it gets confusing. The gardens are in the bazaar, but where??? We wandered along the outside probably twice we wandered through the inside numerous times, at one point we were in line to go into the temple. Then while stopping for lunch I remembered I had my guide book, and that had a map of the bazaar. Thank The Lord it was close. But first I need to explain the crowds...think of the biggest mosh pit you have ever been in, multiply that by a few hundred, throw in a handful of small children a dash of old people in wheelchairs and large amount of shoving and yelling. That people, is a normal Chinese crowd. Now take this crowd on the biggest holiday of the year all trying to see the same exact cool thing. It was painful. Your arms are pinned to your side, you have no choice where you are moving, and don't even think about turning around. The gardens were on the other side of a bridge. The bridge was zigzagged as it led to a very important tea house. It was thought that evil spirits couldn't turn corners, here the zigzags. I think it was built that way to give the police a safe place to stand and shout orders. Oh and you don't want to get stuck in a corner, you will never get out. We eventually made it to the other side of the bridge, alive and unharmed, AND with all of our belongings!! Hooray. We bought tickets for the garden, I happened to have my student ID on me and I got a 50% discount so it only cost ¥15 to get in, that's a little over two dollars for one of the prettiest and coolest things I have ever seen.
The gardens were HUGE and absolutely fabulous. There were old style houses and big rock formations. then we did some rock climbing
Thankfully there was no crowd which surprised both Misty and I.
Then the photos happened. Every probably 3 min, someone was taking my picture. Some would ask, some would do the casual over their friends shoulder iPhone shot, some would walk right up to me and take my photo. Misty thinks it's like a panda sighting. Seeing a white person on the new year is good luck? I don't know, I don't really mind, but what annoys me is when I ask to take a picture with them they act confused or offended. There was a guy who was probably 6'4 and I asked to take his photo in Chinese, he was confused and I tried to explain I thought he was very tall. Here is the result. I look way too giddy. My favorite person who asked to take my photo was this Japanese girl. She ran at me yelling nice to meet you can I take picture, threw up a piece sign, gave me a hug and took off running. Her and her friends saying "sank you, sank you, you are so beautiful, sank you" then squealing with delight and running off. I eventually lost track of how many times this happened. We think that it might be like this because we are at the touristy places, which means other Chinese tourists come here. Some are from very small villages, and chances are have never seen a girl as tall as me. That's what we were trying to figure out, is it because I'm tall or because I'm white? Wait till it gets sunnier and my freckles start showing up, they will think I'm hideous. Eventually I just started taking the same photos with my camera. Meet some of my new friends!
After the gardens we decided to head home, we wanted to blog and take a power nap. We intended on going out again as our flight tomorrow is really early and we didn't want to go to the bars till the wee hours of the morning. We got lost/enjoyed wandering down the interesting streets. We found a really authentic food street, I can't even explain how bad this place smelled. Imagine cows x a kajillion.
We somehow walked in a huge circle and ended back at the bazaar, but by this time the lanterns were lit up. It was beautiful.
Eventually, and I have no idea how. We ended up at the Bund, again. #%*+ I am so tired of walking back from there!! Gah so far. We hadn't seen it at night yet so we went over to take some pictures. Bad bad bad idea. Someone asked to take a picture with me, then another, then her friends, then their parents, then hold this baby (ok that last one was a lie). It probably lasted 15 min. Then they wanted to chat. But they spoke interesting dialects and I had a hard time understanding them. They asked where we were from, and we said Seattle. Oohhhhh USA!!! They yelled in high pitched squeals. And we both said yea, seattle is where Starbucks came from. Blank stares, I explained it in Chinese. More blank stares. Later we realized starbucks is called "xing bai ke".
Then we trekked home. We eventually broke down and all the talking of Starbucks made us really want one. We stopped to rest and drink some coffee. When we returned it was about 8pm. We had plans to take a power nap and go out by 10:30. Nope. 10:30 rolled around and I was so exhausted I could hardly move. We skipped the clubs and caught up on some much needed sleep. I woke up at 6:30 this morning and surfed the Internet on Chinese modeling agencies. I think I will move here and model. It sounds like a blast, and Shanghai is becoming the worlds new fashion district. This place is the New York of China. I love it.