Refreshed after a great night sleep and the world looks a whole lot better. It probably helps that my Chinese friend Ling – who I met in Macau – is meeting me for lunch. Did I tell you that he speaks perfect English? So happy about this!
Irony of language barriers is the trains say things in English here, the signs are in English, some of the cash machines and train ticket machines have English translation but the big one are the buildings at The Bund which say WELCOME TO SHANGHAI and the Chinese all wear shirts with English writing on them yet no one speaks English here. I heard it is because they are afraid if they don’t speak well it will bring them shame. I don’t know if that is true. Ling reminded me that I need just to ask young people for help. They learned English in school. That is comforting news! Ling took me to lunch at Shanghai No. 1 Restaurant, helped me get the $150 yuan or RMB SIM card which is a lifesaver and then gave me my first tour of Shanghai.
The People’s Square is so beautifully maintained and it is where the Shanghai Grand Theater and Shanghai Museum is. Get to Shanghai Museum way earlier than 4:00 p.m. closing time because they will arbitrarily and capriciously refuse your entry if there are too many people inside. It is free though and has very interesting artifacts from including, without limitation, the Qing and Ming dynasties.
We also boarded the elevator at the JW Marriott to get a lovely aerial view of Shanghai for free from the 38th floor.
Later I enjoyed an ice cream drink that steams due to the cool dry ice they put in the cup. I did this on the Champs Eleyse, the 5th Avenue and the Rodeo Drive of Shanghai – East Nanjing Rd. It was vibrant and happening and leads straight to The Bund. The most incredulous thing, however, is again the number of people here!! I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ve been to the World Series and a Rolling Stones concert!
All in all China is much easier with English speakers and a SIM card and a Metro card all of which I had today.
By the way, this is not what you would think a communist country would look like. China is probably more capitalist than we are in the USA. The only remnants of communism here is there can be no protesting i.e. no free speech, no free press and no fair trial but if you look around, you won’t hear anyone complaining given the economic boom and because you might not stay “free” long or maybe even alive long if you did complain.
That’s all for now from Red China from a slightly more educated me.