Shanghai, what more can I say?
Well, in truth, probably a lot. Shanghai was a blast!
I left Shijiazhuang on Tuesday if last week, and this Tuesday was a particularly hay and gloomy day in Shijiazhuang so I was more than excited to leave. As I arrived at the airport that isn’t much bigger than the size of the Des Moines airport, I became slightly nervous. Why in the world was I flying on a plane, in China? The flying part doesn’t bother me very much at all; honestly, I truly enjoy flying it is an experience that has always been fun for me. The China part is what truly terrified me, but to my pleasant surprise the airplane put me at ease as it seated me comfortably and everything was smooth sailing. Well, everything aside from the middle seat and the overly nosey passenger sitting next to me, though those are things that you can even expect in the United States, so no worries.
On the first day that I arrived in Shanghai, there was only one goal. Find the Subway that will get us to our hostel. After riding the subway for roughly an hour (for those of you wondering, we did not get lost, the subway just takes that long) we found our destination. The best thing about our location is THERE WAS A McDONALD’S DOWN THE STREET. I understand that is a weird thing to say, but Cheeseburgers have been my biggest craving by far. We checked into our hostel first, but there was no way I was not getting some McDonald’s and fast. Our room was a triple, and what they don’t tell you about triples is that they are incredibly small. But, I am flexible so it is something that I was willing to deal with. I trudged on and went to get my cheeseburger. Then we met up with some fellow Drake Alums that were already in Shanghai and they told me about a place nearby where we could get a couple of drinks and some food. When we got there I instantly saw Cheeseburgers and I was entranced. So incredibly delicious was about the only way that I could describe the experience. That night we all basically chilled and went our separate ways; it was only the taxi ride home that upset me. Our taxi ended up being some ridiculous amount and we were probably given the run around.
The next day we all met up once again. This time the plan was Mexican. I personally am not a big eater of Mexican food, but I decided that I would join in, and I am incredibly glad that I did because the Mexican food was incredible to have here. You really don’t know how much you miss something until you have it again. Afterwards we went to the bund, which proved to be a pretty awesome experience. We took a ferry to the other side and got to soak everything in. At this point I had grouped up with some buddies who live in Chongqing, just chatting about both of our cities. We decided that we were going down to the French concession that night to get some more American food. I think at this point it is quite clear what I was interested in for the entire trip. That night a buddy and I checked out a bar and a club that was way too intense and headed back much later than we thought we would be.
The next day I got up and the others told us they had gone to a pretty awesome market where you could bargain for a bunch of stuff. One had bought some beats and instantly I was hooked. Before I left I had to check out this market, and I had to get some beats headphones. But today was a night of a pub crawl that we had agreed we were participating in. I reluctantly held my commitment (it was for a friend after all) and we headed down to meet everyone. The pub-crawl was to four bars and the atmosphere was different at all of them, but in truth I had an awesome time and really enjoyed seeing Shanghai.
The next day I awoke and promptly decided that I was going to the market. A fellow person from my school said that she was willing to go, and off we went. I loved being at the market, the people there would bargain so much with you and I was genuinely excited to buy things there. In that first trip I bought two pairs of beats headphones, Two Rosetta Stones (Spanish and Chinese), a soccer jersey, a t-shirt, some Ray-ban shades, and a Prada wallet. In total it was about a tenth of what they would cost in the United States. Truly unbelievable. That night we met up again with the people from Chongqing (this would be a running theme) and decided to grab some pizza and then head to a bar. I decided on Orange Juice for the night, but the atmosphere of the bar was pretty great. It was nice being somewhere in China where everyone spoke English. We lost track of time (me mostly from learning about rugby) and didn’t get home until around 1:30am.
The next day our final full day, I started to come down with a cold. However, I knew that I had to get some more McDonald’s before we left. Afterwards, the Chongqing residents gave me a call. I decided to meet up with them, and check out the market one last time. While there, I picked up another t-shirt, and another soccer jersey. Then I had to cut myself off. This trip was getting to be really expensive. That night we decided to grab dinner one last time as a group, and true to form I got a bacon cheeseburger and just enjoyed the flavors that I would be getting for the final time in a while.
This next morning we had an early flight back, that I think no one wanted to take part in, but we made it happen and headed back to Shijiazhuang.
One other thing I noticed. I am not sure if the Chinese airline workers were fearful of saying something to me, or if they simply did not care, but I was allowed to bring a carry on bag that was either two or three times the limit that it showed on all the signs. At no point did any of them say anything to me. Oh well, I will take it.
At any rate, thank you Shanghai for the experience. And until next time