Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Shanghai Living and Qinghai Tomorrow!

My life here could usually take place anywhere, for the extreme lack of playing the tourist lately. I've settled into a routine of work, class, work, sleep, punctuated by trips to the store or dinner with friends.

Last night one of my professors had our class over for dinner. His apartment was so nice, and his son cooked the most amazing meal. I was told by my language partner the other day that Shanghai women are known for controlling their men - they must be able to cook and clean on command and generally act as "house husbands" - so perhaps by professors son is in training. In a lovely moment of cultural exchange, I taught my language partner how to say whipped.

I joined a gym the other day. It's in a pretty extensive athletic complex - as things tend to come in China. It's very nice, and I'm excited to be active again. I went swimming this morning, which turned into more of a social hour with 80 year old men who also like to swim/chat bright and early on tuesdays than a workout, but that's ok. The pool is one of those annoying 50 meter ones; for some reason those make me so much more tired than a 25 yard even if my workout is the same distance. The locker room was also colossal - I would hate to see how crowded this pool is when all those miles of showers are necessary. In all it was a lovely morning - early workout followed by the cheapest take out coffee (and actual coffee!!) that I've found in China yet, and then an actual omelette from the street food guy (Jake, clever as he is, has been teaching the jidanbing guy to make omelettes, scrambled eggs, and next up french toast. He's even created a separate "American Menu" now).

Last week Isabelle and I went for a wander somewhere in midtown Shanghai. We ended up in the lace district (as mentioned above, things in China seem to come in giant square blocks of goods). After stopping in a shop or two that apparently couldn't sell us anything (maybe they were wholesale only?) we found one with a really nice guy willing to sell us lace and chat about fabrics and his hometown for hours. Final result of this field trip is my modded Fudan t-shirt. Not gonna lie, it came out pretty nice. I'll get a picture up here eventually.

Tomorrow I'm leaving for my National Holiday trip. I'll be going to Qinghai, although no major plans as of yet. We'll use Xining and Lanzhou as jump off points. Qinghai is on the Tibetan Plateau (and is culturally Tibetan) in Western China. It is kind of like the wild west of China - largely unpopulated except by nomadic herding groups. The landscape is mostly high steppe and rolling hills, and the population a mixture of various Tibetan, Uigher, and Muslim minorities. We'll probably spend a few days travelling/camping in the area around Xining - Qinghai Lake (one of the highest saltwater lakes in the world), Takster, Linxia, Tongren, Bingling, Yushu, Nangqian. You can google it if you're interested, I don't want to bore anyone with history or information that I'll likely duplicate in a coming post (or who knows, my plans could easily change and I'll head to different places after all). So yeah, all that's concrete is the 24 hours I'll be spending on a train (oh my favorite form of China travel!) starting bright and early tomorrow morning. Stay tuned for what happens next.

Here's a map of possible destinations. Obviously the dot in Shanghai is my home.

View Qinghai Trip in a larger map



  1. All i could think of when you were describing your gym was SWINNNNEEEEEEEE FLUUUU. Be careful girl! (Btw, I'm not a huge nerd. I'm just writing a paper on it and decided to read your blog because I'm a procrastinator.)

  2. Holy shit, I love you and I love your blog.