The little green man in China doesn’t let people know they can cross the road safely – he suggests that they run as fast as they can to the other side – for that is all the traffic lights are over here – suggestions. The little green man not only runs – he also warns you just how many seconds you have left – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – and then a SLAM of oncoming traffic! Wrestling with the traffic is sometimes an adventure – in my limited Chinese I have made many friends – I attach myself to a local whenever attempting to cross the road, and once safely across, point at them and then me, and say ‘pengyou’ – friends.
As usual, my trip has been centered around food – and what a feast we’ve been having! Dad and I have been making daily breakfast meetings, where we sample the different Chinese foods on offer – we’ve had dumplings for about 5 days in a row – YUM! The other night we went out to celebrate my birthday at M on the Bund, a well-to-do restaurant in modern Shanghai, where we dined on interesting, non-Chinese, menu. The drawing card of the restaurant was evidently the view, not the food or value. After our dinner, we all trotted off to the hostel that Tash and I stayed in last time, and had a drink from the roof top bar, fitted in a lot better!
Of course we’ve been doing a lot of shopping as well, and my understanding of Chinese numbers is coming along in leaps and bounds, as are my bargaining abilities. Each day we have found a new souvenir to pack up and take home – my pack just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Best of all are the Chinese supermarkets – a new phenomenon over here. They not only contain all the different fresh fruits and groceries (including extremely fresh fish (i.e. live)), but also mini k-marts, with everything from bikes to dvds. School started yesterday, and it’s already a struggle. I’m rooming with a friend of Kylie’s, Ling, and we’re having a ball. We’ve been learning by trial and error all the different customs of the uni – from the smartcard food cards, through to where the supermarket actually is. And how to portray that to a taxi driver… Food on campus is good, average $1 AUD per meal, and there are also a couple of restaurants on campus, with more only a few minutes away. Weather has just turned cold, it’s gunna be a tough winter, thankfully we went out and brought scarfs, gloves and beanies yesterday. Classes are difficult, but should be rewarding.Kylie has now joined me and mum, dad and Chuck have just arrived back in Australia. It was a fun family holiday, but now it’s time to start living the life of a student backpacker – no more 5 star hotels 🙁