Every Friday we have a test for our Chinese class. These tests are not fun in any way. So, on the weekend, in an attempt to recover from the past week’s studying and general language learning frustrations, we tend to completely ignore studying of any kind and go out and do as many things as possible. This past weekend was one such weekend.
Friday night we ventured out to one of Shanghai’s well-known shopping districts 东南京路, East Nanjing Road. While the area is known for it’s high-class stores, it is known moreso for the people who walk up to you, quite aggressively, and say things such as “Bag, purse, want to buy?” or “We have watch, jewelry. Very cheap for you.” In order to get them to stop pestering you, one has to assume their most intimidating Chinese voice and choose some way of saying no. However, if you actually “want to buy”, one can choose the least sketchy asker and take them up on their offer. Upon accepting, you follow them down a little street off the main road, a street looking as though you would not want to be there by yourself after 8 p.m., and trust that they are actually taking you to a half-way legitimate place to buy knock-off (and possibly stolen?) bags, purses, watches, coats, and such. We ventured into some such stores that evening. It’s always an interesting experience to say the least.
Shopping areas in Shanghai also generally have a broad expanse of walking area simply to accommodate the crazy number of people. Quite often in the evenings you can find people who have brought out their 90’s boom boxes and are playing traditional Chinese music so whoever wants to dance can just join in! It’s quite entertaining to watch. That night, we also found a man playing accordion with a huge crowd of people that decided to sing along. Singing in Chinese has such a different sound than singing in English, but is certainly beautiful in it’s own way. All the people singing with this man were just so into it, it was great.
Saturday and Sunday we were off to Nanjing, a city known for a couple different things, a temple, a memorial, a few tombs, shopping areas. I feel as though in America we do a decent job of honoring those people who have had an effect on our nation. Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington memorials, childhood/former homes saved for the ages, gigantic faces carved into an even more gigantic rock. But I must say, China did it up right when it came to honoring Sun Yat-sen and the effect he had as the father of the Republic of China. The memorial consists of a number of different structures ascending up the Zhong Mountain where at the top is the actual burial sight. Even in the complete fog of an overcast day, it was an absolutely gorgeous view from the top. The people of China really love this guy, giving him an entire mountain and all.
This one’s for you, Mom. Yes, I am actually in China =)
Now, as studying of any kind was successfully avoided for another weekend, Hello to the coming week of class…