Navigating the subway, bargaining in the markets, and dodging oncoming cars–pretty fun stuff!
We covered more general information about the program, questions, language pledge, and safety. Most Chinese colleges have a curfew, so we are also under curfew, although ours seems far more lenient than other places. Sun – Thurs 12 am and Fri – Sat 1 am. If we return to campus later than curfew, we must wake the 师傅 (shifu / master) so they can open the gate and then we should apologize profusely for waking them. Oh, and in our door it’s clear that we shouldn’t leave footprints on the wall!
This was my first time taking a subway system, ever. It was pretty cool and convenient. We had two people in the group who could navigate, so most of us tagged along with them. We first bought cards for the station so we can enter and exit easily without paying with cash each time. The first ride was fairly spacious, but when rush hour started, the trains were packed! It was nice seeing the Chinese advertisements and locals doing their thing. We definitely looked like typical tourists. haha.
Hongqiao Pearl Market
I guess you could say it’s a knock-off store, but it’s a fantastic knock-off store! The building has four levels dedicated to clothes, electronics, souvenirs, and other accessories. The bottom floor has a few eating places. This is the place to bargain – you have to bargain or else you’ll probably be getting a terrible deal. I saw a few things I liked, so I definitely want to go back and buy something, but it’s always wise to never “fall in love” with an item or else the sellers can get you to buy at their desired price.
After the Hongqiao Pearl Market, we took the subway again to a place similar to a downtown area. There was a huge shopping center we walked through that had very expensive stores. Most of us just admired the shiny walls and ceilings and bright lights. haha. We ended up eating dinner at a place called Fairwood, which had really nice Chinese food. Someone ordered a spicy chicken dish, and the waiter set it on fire! 太棒了! Since I can’t tolerate spice as well, I went with a simpler dish, which was tasty nonetheless!
It’s really crazy and dangerous here for people who are not cautious. If you don’t run across the street when there is some free time, it’s likely a car will honk at you or almost run you over. Here, pedestrians never have the right away. Also, I would never want to drive! Many cars get so close to each other or cut each other off. I already get nervous driving in the states!