May 18 - May 20
The things that happen in China still amaze me, even after two previous trips. Within the past few days, I've experienced a few things that have amazed the other students in the group, as well as myself.
On Monday, we went to search for a place to eat lunch. The original place that we wanted to go to was closed so we went to search for another place. We ended up at a restaurant on the side of the street and sat down, looked at the menu, and decided that we couldn't read any of the menu. So we decided to just order simple bok choi and rice, however after trying to communicate with the waitress, we discovered that the restaurant only served hot pot and we didn't have time enough time to eat hot pot. We then walked out of the restaurant extremely embarrassed that we had caused that big of a scene. We eventually went to a place called Sugar that served popcorn chicken and french fries. The one kid that I was with ordered the "Big Mac" meal. He thought that the meal would include a hamburger and french fries but it only came with french fries, popcorn chicken, and hash brown triangles. But no hamburger. Later after class, a few of us were sitting in a coffee bar called 520 right outside of the front gates. While we were sitting there, a homeless person approached us and asked us for money. Normally, I wouldn't be surprised at this but the fact that it was inside of a nice establishment astonished me. The employees eventually came over and ushered the homeless person out of the coffee bar. Later that night, we went to a hot pot restaurant called Chongqing Chicken (重庆鸡). I have eaten hot pot before so decided that I would be able to try the hotpot that we ordered. We ordered ours with chicken, potatoes, celery, and some other various vegetables. When it was brought to the table, it looked absolutely delicious. The chicken had bones but that was manageable. The thing that wasn't manageable was the chicken feet that were included. Once we saw the chicken foot, we all lost our appetites and were unable to eat much else after seeing the foot in our food. Two of the brave men in the group tasted the chicken foot and all decided that it tasted just as gross as it looked.
Yesterday, when I was in my Chinese class during our break time, the kid sitting down the row from me was eating his lay's chips with chopsticks which was funny, but also kind of expected in a way. I was impressed that he was able to eat even the small broken chips at the bottom of the bag. After our language class yesterday, we went to Yu Garden which I have visited before on both of my trips. The gardens are so peaceful to walk around and have beautiful scenery to take pictures with.
This past week, our group hasn't been able to take group pictures easily and we have seen many groups using selfie sticks. I broke down last night and bought a selfie stick and decided that it's okay to buy one since I'm in China where everyone has a selfie stick. I was able to haggle the price down to about $2.50 for my selfie stick and it's definitely worth the $2.50. It's not only useful for group pictures, but also for a very short girl that can't take pictures over everyone tall person's heads. The Shanghai skyline pictures on my Instagram were all taken with my selfie stick.
That just about sums up everything that we have done during the first half of this week. Tomorrow we go to Xin Tian Di as well as the First Chinese Communist Party Congress site and then a day trip to Suzhou on Saturday. Look for a new blog post hopefully around Friday!