Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Is crazy. Imagine, a place with next to no road rules - who needs indicators when you can just turn? - and a dizzying and seemingly endless array of apartment blocks. I can't make head nor tail of it, as the people seem to be missing. There are plenty around, though not as many as you would expect. They are mostly on the road, riding bikes with no helmets and carrying oversized baggage on the back.

The locals are lovely and manage to be helpful even though I don't know a word of Chinese. I'm staying in Pudong for some reason; the financial capital. I dont usually take taxis unless drunk, but I have here. I've gotten lost already - I tried to remember my bearings but walked into a shopping mall and - understandably, so many bargains - walked out disorientated, and had to cab back. The sun and heat proved to be too much.

People stare at me wherever I go, probably thinking, "Who is that peculiar looking person with the yellow jandals?" And whoever said Europe is relaxed, they need to check Shanghai out. Although - thankfully - there's no public displays of nakedness, I've passed a couple of pot (actual pot) plants growing on the side of the road, and managed to haggle a ticket to Hong Kong down by 400 RNB. I didn't even know you could do that.

There's lots of salespeople, and I am their prey. Unfortunately I was born with an inability to say "no" and I'm charmed by their sweetness and persuasion. So is my rapidly dwindling wallet. But I found some great hair products. Deodorant and shavers are hard to find - so jealous of Chinese women - it seems they neither sweat or need to shave their legs. Right now there's a shopping festival going on, the theme for it is "Enjoy shopping, enjoy life" - I love the Chinese.

I haven't had a conversation with anyone for over 24 hours, an event that I don't believe has happened since I learned how to talk. I'm loving the amount of Green Tea everywhere and the best thing is - I can smoke wherever I want! And they cost next to nothing.

Food is a bit of a problem - given up completely on being vegetarian. Yesterday's lunch consisted of tofu and a plate of deep fried things. Could've been animal or vegetable - maybe even mineral.

There are locusts flying outside my hotel window. Forget Australian cockroaches - these things are freaky. And the cutest, skinniest kitten said hi to me in a fruit shop. I wanted to take it home and make it as fat as a Westerner.

When people talk about how fast China's economy is growing, they are so right. You can actually see it happening - unfinished skyscrapers are everywhere and I can constantly hear the wheels of new infrastructure being built. (Lots of banging and machinery) I sometimes wonder what the world would be like having China replace the U.S. as the world's economic superpower.

All in all I having a good time - by myself - but am looking forward to a country that speaks my language. The amount of time I spent on this post (20 mins) is an attribute to that. Who blogs when they're having fun? And previous generations of freckly English people have left me unequiped to deal with this weather - it is intense.

Hong Kong tomorrow, and if I can get my phone to work I'll be meeting up with one of my favourite bloggers - should be a blast.

xx L


peteremcc said...

Welcome to the free market! ;)

kiwigirl said...

Did you have to mention smoking? I'm currently in day five of hell!

xx K