Today was a good day

A Hot Night
September 20, 2006
Chinese National Day
October 6, 2006

Today was a good day

As Ice Cube said back in 1992 (on the first rap single I ever bought), “Today was a good day”. It all started with Jason and I’s urge to go back down to Yu Yuan Gardens to get Kanes. (We might perform in our school talent show)

We took the 910 bus which takes us down to the Bund (wai tan). As we got to the Bund area we suddenly realized that people have not been lying to us about the crowds during Mid Autumn Festival.

Chinese National Holiday = 1 week off for the whole country

It was about 1:00pm and the area was very crowded. We get off the bus and walk toward Yu Yuan Gardens. We first stop at the Fabric Market. This is the most popular place to go where you can get handmade/custom made clothing.

Sample quoted prices…
All prices in RMB and also negotiable!!! ($1.00 = 8RMB)
All articles of handmade from scratch to fit you.

Full Length Men’s Cashmere Wool Overcoat => 950.00
Men’s Cashmere Wool Sport Coat => 300.00
Men’s Cotton Dress Shirts => 90.00 -120.00
(Includes your choice of about 8 styles of collars and 4 style of cuffs)
Women’s Traditional Chinese Dresses => 100.00 – 200.00

Although this is the most popular place in the city to have clothes made for yourself. You can find little shops all around the city. Jason has already found a local place near our apartment and has things on order.

From the Fabric Market we continued our walk to Yu Yuan Bazaar to find our Kanes. As it was at the Bund, very crowded here as well.

Getting to the Bazaar we walked into an area where we smelled incense. (Very hard to find anywhere around here.) But there was a high quantity here. Why?

We walked past a few more stores selling incense and what do we see? Something that says “City God Temple”. What is this? We ask ourselves. We pay the 5 kuai each to enter and it seems to be a place of worship. People burning incense and praying to the City Gods.

See the pictures and videos

Being in this temple was an eye opening experience. I actually felt a little bad about taking pictures and videos while people were worshipping. But it made me feel better that there were and un-proportionate amount of fellow tourists there as well.

What is this? Amazing…. lol. There are three large statues of a very, very dark complexion among the statues in the first Temple hall. This is where I wish we had a guide that knew some history of the Temple and the City Gods.

We walk through the temple admiring all the statues of the Gods and Traditional Chinese architecture.

We exit back in the bazaar and find the shop that sold our Kanes. We then walk around more admiring many Chinese artwork, handmade crafts, and still in shock from the number of people out and about. (Hey LB and “Line Sister-in-Law”, I found your wedding gift!!! Its coming soon!!!)

We leave the Bazaar area and call Jeff to see what he’s up to. We decided to meet him for lunch. We make our way to his “I Love Shanghai Lounge” to meet him. We meet Kurt here as well. We make our way to Pudong, by way of Ferry Boat (cost 2 kuai) and then walk to Hooters. The wings were the same… Very, very good. Finally, buffalo wings in China, and also my first Caesar salad in China. Also, I believe this was now our third time using a fork.

From there we go into out first supermarket with merchandise and products form the US. And the prices were definitely reflective. 18 kuai for one regular size bottle of Snapple. Even the fact that they have Snapple was weird. Kurt bought a package of Kraft Cheddar cheese. Definitely the first time I’ve seen Cheese in China.

The ferry was shut down on our way back to the Puxi (Bund side) of the river. So we had to take a cab. Upon our arrival to the Bund area we find the street closed due to crowds. We exit the stalled cab to walk the rest of the way.

I have not been in the presence of this many people since The Million Man March in Washington D.C. on October 16, 1995; and this time the crowd was 99% of Chinese Nationality. The videos will give you more of a feel of how this scene felt. Imagine a 8 -10 lane road about 2 miles long packed with people, vendors, police, and military.

There was nothing in particular happening that specifically attracted all these people to this area. They were just walking up and down the bund, enjoying being in Shanghai. Jeff and a few others who have lived in Shanghai for a while told us that most of the visitors come from “countryside China.”

It was surely a site to see.

We finally make our way to Jeff’s Lounge. To find about 10-15 Chinese police officers chillin. Since we couldn’t go anywhere due to the crowds, the few of us who made it had happy hour at the I Love Shanghai Lounge, playing chess, jenga, and poker in the presence of Chinese Police officers. Who would have ever expected that?

The last chapter of today’s story starts with our leaving the lounge. Earlier, I noticed that I didn’t have my sheet of paper with our address written in Chinese for the cab driver. Uh oh…

I did it… Finally after about 6 weeks… I have successfully communicated our destination with a cab driver in China. This is a milestone. I was rather surprised that I did this. And felt motivated to try to talk to the cab driver more. During the drive home, we do manage to successfully communicate with each other. He thought we were students at Fudan University. After some difficulty, I finally explained to him that we were teachers at The Shanghai Finance University. He was cool, and most importantly did not cheat us on the fare. I’m gonna attribute that to me giving him proper directions in Chinese. Before he left, we took pictures with him and got his number. We are gonna try to get him to be our personal cab driver.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *