Friday, October 10, 2014

What's been up

I haven't been around in realtime for a while, and of course everyone is dying to know exactly what has been going on, down to what I've been having for breakfast.

The past week was a holiday, courtesy of the Chinese National Day. Hence Sunday school last week, and Saturday school this week, because nothing comes for free. Because so many people are off during this holiday, touristy locations are absolutely packed, making travel pretty pointless unless you're really cool with sharing your space. Along with a lot of others, I stayed in Shanghai for the duration of the week, exempting one day trip to the nearby city of Suzhou. More pictures will come in another post!

I have also gone swimming, for which I had to buy a Chinese swimsuit. Made the mistake of trusting the lady who said the cute cherry-patterned one would fit me, only to realize later that the chest is about 3 sizes too small. It was a fight against gravity, hard-won.

The Shanghai swimming pool was an experience in itself. To get in, you first have to sign a form confirming that you do not suffer from an array of ailments, including diarrhea, AIDS, and hemorrhaging conjunctivitis. In the pool, you are required to wear a cap to avoid getting hair in the water. There were about 6 lifeguards on duty at once. The sign marking the deep end of the pool was charmingly translated as "profundity zone." A perfect example of what China is like: the same, but always different.

Briefly visited Xintiandi, and an exhibit about the Communist Party of China, where a Chinese guy in a knockoff t-shirt sporting the Republican elephant and the word "EVERYONE" was seen having his picture taken in front of a patriotic Chinese display. A guy in our group found this so hilarious that he chased the pseudo-Republican down and made him pose for another picture.


The exhibit itself was, of course, extremely biased. But it made me wonder how biased the information in textbooks and museums in the West really is. My guess is: probably not as much as here, but a hell of a lot. Source criticism and awareness, guys.

I've also been exploring some of the restaurants available in the area and appreciating the amazing joy of late opening hours. I can come home from school, nap all afternoon, and when I wake up around six or seven I can cruise down to the malls and window shop until after 9 PM. Being able to hang out in the bookstore pretty much around the clock is a privilege everyone should have.

Finally, and most disappointingly, I've gotten sick. I am now juggling classes with a cough and a bit of headachiness. Today I bought myself a rescue kit in the shape of chamomile tea, honey, and an herbal Chinese cough syrup recommended by a friend. We'll see how well it works, but the first verdict is that it's extremely delicious and I could probably just drink it straight out of the bottle if I didn't know better.


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