Day 2

11 Feb

I meant to post sooner, about the process of getting here and my first impressions of both Shanghai and my teaching cohort, but technology is against me.  We are staying at a hotel on the campus of Shanghai Jiaotong University, and the internet in our room is broken.  I have tried three times to explain this to the receptionist at the front desk, rather emphatically miming typing at a keyboard and violent head-shaking, along with anything else I thought might convey “broken” or “does not work”.   All three times she has sent me away with a new Ethernet cord.  I want to tell her that the cords are not the problem, the problem is behind the wall somewhere because the jack does not work, but there’s a language barrier.  Hopefully later today, I can find someone to mediate the situation.  For now, we are collecting Ethernet cords on our vanity.

What I’ve seen of Shanghai so far is amazing.  My roommate Kayla and I both got here on Wednesday, a day early, and so we had all of Thursday free to explore our corner of the city while everyone else arrived and crashed.  My first impression: food is everywhere, and it is amazing.  I haven’t tasted much yet, but just visually the food is spectacular.

We are very close to a shopping district with several malls.  I think this is a pretty ritzy part of town; there’s a Sephora and a Burberry, and a few huge departments stores full of American and British clothes, accessories, and food (Ritz crackers and Premium brand saltines in the blue box, kept under glass because they are imported).  Yesterday we wandered through the largest electronics store I have ever been in, and in the basement there was…something like a food court, but fancier.  There were tiny boutique restaurants featuring stuffed waffles shaped like koi and Japanese mousse pastries.  (I need to try and get a picture of the Japanese pastries, actually, because they were impressive.  Rows of multi-colored, pastel balls, each the size of a golf ball.  They looked…cartoonish.)  And then, on the streets, we passed a lot of food that was unidentifiable but smelled delicious—lots of little, spiny deep fried things in huge tubs.

This morning for breakfast, we had the best dumplings I’ve ever tasted.

Orientation starts in about an hour, and I will have more to say about the business side of things by tonight, I hope.  (Also, I noticed that this morning they have us scheduled for one hour of “Basic Chinese Cooking class”!  One of my goals, once I get to Jiujiang City, is to find someone willing to give me cooking lessons.)

So.  Except for the internet, so far so good!  I will try to update soon—hopefully, with pictures!

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7 Responses to “Day 2”

  1. Betsy February 12, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    Hey sis! So glad u are having a good time there in China! I want to come, too!! Today is tomorrow. Weird.

  2. candyce February 12, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    can’t wait to see the pictures!

    • Erin February 17, 2011 at 10:29 am #

      I’ve taken a bunch of pictures…I just need to figure out how to post them here!

  3. Tomika February 14, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    I’m so glad you made it safe and sound. I can’t wait to follow all your adventures!!

    • Erin February 17, 2011 at 10:30 am #

      It was so nice to talk to you the other night! If I can work out the timing (I’m 13 hours ahead of you), I’ll call you again soon! Also, do you use AIM or something, where we could chat?

  4. Jessica March 2, 2011 at 6:10 am #

    Ritz crackers and Saltines under glass – hilarious! I hope I read further on (I’m starting from your oldest entries) that you liked the cooking class. I wonder what constitutes ‘basic’ for Chinese cuisine. Hmm…

    • Erin March 3, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

      In the cooking class, they just taught us one Shanghainese recipe for dumplings. It was very complicated, and folding the dumpling by hand is hard work…I was hoping they’d teach us how to use a wok or give us a crash course in Chinese vegetables and condiments. It was disappointing…if they had presented it as a cultural experience (learn about dumpling-making! it’s an art form!) rather than survival cooking, I would have enjoyed it more.

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