First FULL Day

We woke up in a new city and unpacked, placed the pictures and made our new place feel like “home”.
It is starting to look like home -with less stuff since our suitcases needed to carry the essentials and knick knacks had to be purged or stored. Which is OK since that leaves more room to add things from our travels and time here in Shanghai.
The one thing I noticed is it doesn’t sound or smell like home. At first glance around the city, from the balcony, or around the apartment it looks like any other big city. The apartment looks like a spread from IKEA… but then open the one closet and it has an odd smelll… I think I have finally placed it… a smokey bacon smell. Do they even have bacon in China? Maybe not, but the smell of bacon reminds me of breakfasts back home! Hopefully the air freshener works… I don’t want any wild dogs following me to school!
The grocery store is another place of weird and wonderful smells. Most aisles have this sweet spicy smell -which is nice… but stay away from the meat section where is smells like something died. Oh yea it did, as it sits on ice with its head still attached there were ducks, live eel (I think), crabs -alive and tied into neat little bundles and more. John also saw turtles, and the infamous black chickens! The smell was too much and my tummy started to churn, so I left John to get the meat and I went looking for sugar and salt… much safer.
Food looks like home, but tastes slightly different… the “imported” spaghetti sauce tastes better than home (1st meal John cooks is pasta! Hee hee, but it was GOOD). The cheese, hmm bit different. Sugar looks like glitter, so John thought we should pay double for the raw sugar cubes that looked more like sugar!
As you walk around there is constant horn beeping, not as bad as some places in Europe, but its there. Watch walking across the street as mopeds and electric bikes seem to ignore red lights and people DO NOT have the right of way… or maybe that is the locals trying to weed out yet another North American moving into their city! Yes there are LOTS of westerners here. Your ears perk up to the sound of a familar word and language. They are happy to talk to you and share. We stopped a lady in the grocery store to ask her where to find hand soap and we chatted about everything and exchanged phone numbers. The familarity of home makes instant friends. She is a fellow Canadian from Nova Scotia who has been here 9 years. She loved it so much her parents moved here a few years ago! (her mom is a retired teacher and now teaches here). Then there are the locals… who laugh when you try to say hello or thank you in their native tongue (2 of the 3 words I know -the 3rd Wu (fog) isn’t so useful.) Others light up that you attempted and repeat it back. So far we have managed… what a feat to get the IT guy to understnad that he needed to come to our place to fix the internet. Lots of pointing, writing apartment numbers, but he fixed it so all is good.
It gets dark here early…. about 7PM and then the buildings light up. Not just office lights, but a mini light show of designs and patterns that change colour or move… very cool.
Yesterday was a day of getting settled and buying things we needed. We explored the little plaza/mall (the long way around -since the school rep said the mall was left, but pointed right. John thought we should go left, so we walked the whole block -10-15 min in extreme heat, sun and humidity to find if we would have went right it was less than 5 minutes walk!) We found a cool resteraunt -suggested by Lydia and had lunch and free internet (since ours wasn’t fixed yet). We learned how to get in the door without a key… oh that is what that card is for! Went to a bank to exchange money and I started a blog.
So far the simple things are exciting…
Stay tuned for day 3!

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3 thoughts on “First FULL Day

  1. Freda Goulet

    Sounds like a busy but fun day. What a small world when you meet someone from Canada in such a huge metropolis! It’s great to read how you are doing, so I look forward to your next entry. It cooled off a bit here, no humidity, so a nice break at night for sleeping. Are the newspapers mentioning Chelsey Clinton’s wedding today? Just wondered if it made world news.
    Take care,
    Aunt Freda

  2. Freda Goulet

    I have downloaded a street map of Shanghai… in which part of the city are you located? I’m curious as to where you are?

    • Diana

      We just got English TV hooked up today -but we haven’t seen or heard anything about the Clinton wedding. We haven’t looked at any newspapers. I am sure we could get some that weren’t in Chinese, but haven’t looked for any.
      We are in the Pudong area near the Radison hotel and a large plaza/mall (Puxi is the older section). Century Park and Regency Park are “neighbourhoods” not far from us… although we haven’t been to those areas yet… I know of them because that is where the school campuses are.

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