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Hawkers, tea ceremonies and art galleries

CHINA | Sunday, 7 December 2008 | Views [817] | Comments [5]

I've been in Shanghai now for just under 24hrs and I'm already exhausted. When I first got here I really wasn't sure what I was going to do, but in the short time I've been here...I've done HEAPS!

Yesterday evenings' flight from Xiamen to Shanghai was probably the noisiest flight I have ever taken in my life. I seemed to be sitting in the middle of a large family group and I had to try my best not to mind as they chatted loudly around me and passed food to each other(including spam-like blocks of meat) right in front of my face. Meanwhile at the front of the plane one of the cabin crew with a microphone in one hand and a full basket in the other, explained to the passengers that many products were available for purchase during the flight. All I can say is thank god for my iPod, that magically started working again the other day. By putting my headphones in, turning on The Stooges and closing my eyes, I was able to escape the madness. 

I arrived at Pudong Airport at about 8pm and got a taxi straight to my hotel. After checking in, I went for a short walk around Nanjing Road, which is a pedestrian only road and famous for it's great shopping.

While Nanjing Road is a wonderfully central area to stay, it's also a huge pain when it comes to hawkers. I thought the ones in Guangzhou and Hong Kong were bad, these guys are HORRIBLE! They will follow you and poke you and some of them even have roller skates. I have quite a normal amount of patience, but after dodging a few dozen of these hawkers I wanted to start punching them! Hopefully I'll be able contain my self during my stay here.

This morning I awoke early and decided just to head off for a walk with no real ideas of where to go or what to do. After walking around Nanjing Road and The People's Square for about an hour, I was approached by two people. My first reaction was HAWKERS! RUN! but it turned out they were just friendly people who wanted to say hello. The two women, Linda and Lu, are sisters and in Shanghai for a week from their home town of Tsingtao (where the beer is from!) We chatted for a while and they invited me to join them for a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. I have been warned that tea ceremonies, while very interesting, can be pricey. It seems they were very right on both accounts, but I was more than happy to spend some time with my new friends. Linda translated for me as the professional tea demonstrator, a small woman dressed in pink, explained how to make and drink the tea, as well as it's benefits to the body and spirit. We tried six different types of tea: green tea, fruit tea, jasmine tea, black tea, rose tea and flower ball tea, which is made from several different types of flowers balled together.

After saying good bye to my new friends, I felt quite refreshed. There's nothing like meeting some friendly strangers to restore ones faith in humanity.

So, because it was still very early, I decided to head towards The Bund to see the sights and soak up the atmosphere. I walked down Nanjing Road and as I got closer I spotted the amazing Pearl TV Tower. It looks so space-aged and all I could think of as I stared at it was flying cars! Hahaha.

My walk along The Bund was quite pleasant, even the hawkers couldn't annoy me. After a while I was approached by another small group of people. We chatted for a short while and they told me they were art students in Shanghai to exhibit their work, and they invited me to have a look. I went with them simply to have a look, but of course they cornered me into buying something. Although I do understand that people do need to make a living, it does get quite tiring having everyone hounding you to buy something. I was disappointed that the students hadn't turned out to be just the friendly people I thought they would be. They were friendly enough, but they still pretty much demanded I buy something. I felt backed into a guilty corner and they explained how they'd spend hours slaving away over the canvas'...I guess I would've felt rude not to buy something, so I bought four little paintings from one of the girls.

As I left the gallery I felt a little disheartened. I suppose I shouldn't have been so nieve to think they didn't want something from me, but I suppose that is just the nature of human beings.

The Bund. 
That guy to the bottom right of the photo followed me around for AGES trying to get my to pose for and buy a sketch. I took this photo SECONDS before he bounded over to me. Hahaha.

The Bund. That guy to the bottom right of the photo followed me around for AGES trying to get my to pose for and buy a sketch. I took this photo SECONDS before he bounded over to me. Hahaha.

 

Comments

1

Glad to know you had a safe (but noisy)flight. I'm sure you will enjoy Shanghai. Try to catch the train that goes under the river it really is an unreal experience. Awesome blog by the way.

  Baba Dec 7, 2008 10:51 PM

2

So pleased to hear that your Shangai experience got off to such a good start with an interesting, albeit expensive tea ceremony. Missing you so much, and our Aussie tea ceremonies and interesting chats: it certainly is a drink for the mind, body and spirit!

Darling, continue to look after yourself - and watch out for those hawkers, they sound quite menacing, especially the ones on roller skates.

We are looking forward to the next well-written story about Shangai.

Much love always,

  antique Rose Dec 8, 2008 12:56 AM

3

Anyway, we're all looking forward to reading more about your adventures in Shanghai, i.e. the one with two H's...

(Baba, sounds like you have already visited this famous city!)

Lots of love,

  antique Rose Dec 8, 2008 1:33 AM

4

Dear Maz,enjoy your stay in Shanghai,and my classmate has promised to take care of you for us when you arrive in Xiamen.So don't worry.
By the way, I enjoy reading your blog a lot.You really are a very good writer.
leaps of love
June

  June Dec 10, 2008 1:20 AM

5

Dad, I did already catch the train that goes under the river...and it really wasn't awesome at all. It was crowded and the air was thin.

Not that I am not having a great time here. Today I think I will take your advice and go on a river cruise. :)

  mazystar Dec 10, 2008 2:58 PM

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