Posted by: Megan | August 19, 2007

A Swift Welcome Back to China

Well well well – what a familiar feeling this is – back using very local
Chinese internet cafes! So dark in here – it is like the outside world does
not exist … The local boys are chain- smoking away all around me while
playing computer games – their Saturday plans look well established! In the
meantime I am struggling big time to find the letters on this well worn
keyboard – I now wish I had a better relationship with the keyboard. Hmmm –
so this is going to be hard! I have to thank the boy next to me though – god
knows how I would have managed to start this computer up otherwise – with my
Chinese password and all! Life returns to being just one constant game of
charades … There is a lot to be said about looking puzzled, I have to say
– my expressions are taking me far (so far). Further than my typing that is
for sure … Walking here was an interesting experience also – I was given
vague directions to this internet cafe which took me through some great
local streets along the way … all sorts of fab local food and fresh fruit
– I must return!

Simply getting off the flight yesterday was enough to tell me I was back in
China. The push and shove once the aircraft stopped, by seemingly locals,
to get off the plane and through customs was on for young and old. I have
never understood the rush – at some point we all come to a halt either at
the customs line up or waiting for our baggage and seem to exit at about the
same time in the end anyhow! I can’t say it would have anything to do with
the up and coming Olmypics because this has been my experience in China
years ago! Simply checking into my room was enough to tell me I was back in
China … the airconditioning did not work and so I asked to have it looked
at (it is really really hot and humid here in Shanghai) … and so there I
sat and watched several men dressed in their blue trade-uniform with their
tool kit and ladder to try and fix the situation … The result? Let’s just
say that feeling cool is going to be about as cool as the beers get here –
and that’s not very! I did try one more time to have the aircon looked at
and the result? “Sorry, bye”! OK … Yes, I am back in China! Otherwise
the hotel is in a great location near the Bund and the rooms are clean and
comfy (gosh – last night also reminded me though of how hard the mattress is
– good for the back?). The motto of the Yinbo hotel, according to a sign in
my room is “We work hard to see your smile”! Love it … I tell you .. keep
that airconditioning from working and then they will be on the right track
with me – that is for sure ;)!!!

I am spending my time re-exploring the Shanghai I last knew back in 2002 …
so far it looks the same with a few more space-like buildings popping up
here there are everywhere. Still crowded with 1000s walking in any
direction not looking where they are going (bit like the traffic), still
being asked if I want to buy a cheap watch “lady lady look look” … I spent
my evening sitting at an outdoor restaurant on the Bund soaking in the
atmosphere at the same time as a coctail, looking out on Huangpu River where
glitzy tacky tourist boats went up and down! The sidewalk was crowded with
mainly locals – either residents or local Chinese tourists. It is a
stunning area to hang out at night – especially after a stinking hot day as
it is pleasant at night with a breeze – a huge relief!

So now, my group have started to come in dribs and drabs with the group
meeting to be held tonight and then it is all go go go …

Reporting live from within the heat, humidity, smoke and madness of China

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  1. You make me laugh.

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