Friday, September 20, 2013

Soar Feet

Two days ago one of the CIEE Chinese roommates approached us and asked us if we wanted to go see the museum. Of course we said yes and this morning we all met to go out. One of our Chinese teacher accompanied us along with two Chinese students and about five of us (CIEE students). It took us about two hours to get there, we stopped for coffee and of course got lost. When we got there we were starving so we went and got lunch at an duck soup place. It tasted pretty good, but the smell, It was enough to make me sick. I believe it was because most of the meat they were using that day had just come in so that smell took over the place. Also, Chinese cook with a lot of soy and vinegary sauces and most of the time the smell is not pleasant. I had dumplings and they were delicious, another great meal here for under $1. Finally we headed to the Shanghai Museum and it was packed. It was really neat though. The architecture and the building itself were beautiful. Yesterday they had just opened a new French impressionist art gallery and so everyone came to see it today. It was nice for us because it was our first time there so we went to see everything else. There was a furniture gallery, ceramics gallery, coins and currency, jade, calligraphy and paintings and minority groups galleries. This surprised me, it was a totally different museum that I had thought it would be. It gave the history and the origins of all these areas from the early Ming, Qing, and even earlier dynasties. It was really interesting because some of the items dated back extremely far which made me realize how  profound and long their history is. My favorite part was the calligraphy. They even had oracle bones where the first writings were recorded in ancient times.
The oracle bone, with its inscriptions.
A copy and only the inscriptions can be seen here.
I believe this is so fascinating because not only have we read and learned about this in all the books, but the minds that must have come up with such an intricate language. As we walked the calligraphy gallery it showed how Chinese characters evolved from the oracle bone inscriptions to now.

I'm probably gonna go back soon. The museum was so big, there was no way to process all that in one time.
Me and a friend decided to see a part of Shanghai called the French Consession. After the war, many countries were occupying China. Most countries has settled in the part they call the international section of Shanghai, but the French settled in a different part which is now called the French Consession. Here there are French influences in everything from food, language, fashion, art and everything. We walked for about three hours just looking at everything and trying to find this restaurant in our guide book. The Chinese don't really coordinate their street sign numbers with they're house numbers and so we had to turn around, walk in circles, and get lost a few times. I enjoyed it though. This part of Shanghai was very different and it was nice to see the cultural difference. We finally got there and realize this wasn't the place we wanted to stay and eat at so we kept walking. We got some drinks along the way. Here in China they have bubble tea stores all over the place. The regular bubble tea is just milk tea with grass jelly or such, tonight I had coconut jelly with green tea milk, it was delicious. 
Finally we found a mall and went to a restaurant there. We had ourselves a laugh because our food was really good, I had spaghetti carbonara and a glass wine and it was 17 yuan which is about $3. The great thing was right across the street from the mall we were in was Prada, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Rolex and every other designer and luxury brand you can think of. It was strange that even though we were in such a high class area, our food was so inexpensive. Definitely a place I'm coming to again.
The highway and transportation infrastructure in Shanghai is awesome

I even found Optimus prime there!
It was a great day even after being on my feet and walking for twelve hours. The best part about exploring and getting lost is finding those small quirky places and all the new areas. I can't wait to go back to the French Consession and see the rest of it.
Till next time

Here are a few more pictures of my day...

Our group in front of the museum, we're all in diss array, it was really hot.
Apparently this is what all the Chinese tourists do everywhere 
Dumplings for lunch
Inside the Shanghai Museum
An incredible vast amount of different minority and ethnic groups in China

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