Saturday, July 29, 2006

Spaghetti for breakfast...

I think I conquered my jet lag. I did it by walking myself until I was a zombie yesterday. Passed out at 11 pm and was up at 6 bright eyed. Just got back from breakfast in the hotel restaurant, a buffet of bacon, sausage, spaghetti, bok choy and congee soup.
I saw a bit of Shanghai yesterday after getting off to a slow start. The GSM phone I bought in Canada, that I was assured was unlocked, won't work here. I bought another used phone, paid way too much, and it doesn't turn on now either. good grief. I have a SIM card and a phone number, just no phone. I spent yesterday morning dealing with that, and my quest continues today.
It is blazing hot here. Everyone warned me, but it's muggier than Toronto on the worst day of the year. Everyone is soaked in sweat, so I know it's not just me. The Bund (the walkway along the river) is a sea of umbrellas as people desperately try to stay out of the sun.
After leaving the hotel yesterday I walked down the Bund to Nanjing, the famous shopping street. It's a pedestrian only road, like Sparks St. in Ottawa, but about 10,000 times as big and busy. But after a bit I was ready to move on, since the couple of shops I went into were priced way above Canadian prices. (I checked out a photo shop and the guy asked how much I paid for me lens and he was shocked how cheap it was in Canada!?!?) Plus Nanjing is full of prostitues cruising for tourists. Every few meters a girl would come up and try spark up a conversation "You vewy hansum."
I did stop at the McDonald's for an icecream cone. They sell plastic cups of corn kernels. McCorn?
I also hit the subway. Jamie, you'd be impressed. It was busy, but very clean and fast. 3 yuan for a ride (7 yuan is C$1.)
Things change fast here. I looked for a market that my travel guide said was great for luxury knock offs, and wandered around the area for a while trying to find it. Turns out the whole city block was demolished to make way for a tower. Another camera store I'd looked for earlier was the same. Whole block gone.
I did find a nice little park with shade, and heard some strange sounds from the back. A group of retired men and women were jamming under a pavillion, so I stopped and visited and listened. People would come up, bug the musicians to play a song and they'd sing. It was stranegly like high school and playing my guitar in the council room. At one point this old man with liver spots walks up and starts to sing. He was hitting notes I don't think even Freddy Mercury or Hawksley Workman could reach. It was a bit disturbing.
Grabbed a good dinner of sliced pork and vegetables in black pepper sauce. Yummy. And the beer I ordered was a foot tall!!
Last night I took a night cruise on the Huangpo river, met some Chinese tourists from a far off province who spoke about 10 words of English, but we had fun.
Today I'm staying in (except for phone shopping, I'm going to buy a new one and get it over with). Have lots of work to do.
Can't remember whether I mentioned in an earlier post or not, but I can't view this site. The Chinese gov't don't like it seems, and they ban access to it. (Don't ask me why I'm allowed to create posts but not look at them.) So comment if you like, but until I get home I won't be able to read them. I heard there's the same ban in India. It's very strange what sites do get blocked here, and there are quite a few. They banned Skype for a while, but it works now. The web sites that talk about the censorship don't though.
I'll post some pics below. For some reason I can't manipulate the photos or give them captions from China, so they'll just flow below.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Super cool adventure. And six weeks of this. You will be like Indiana Jones by the time you return.

Anonymous said...

if not indiana jones than at the very least the guy harrison ford played in witness.