Every once and a while, I have to remind myself that this is not a vacation. I live here. Holy cow. I shop at the convenience stores, I can spend afternoons lying in my bed doing absolutely nothing and not feel guilty about it, I can explore the city one evening, I can buy DVDs for almost nothing, I can get angry at the tourists crowding the streets because DON’T THEY KNOW THIS IS NOT A TOURIST NEIGHBORHOOD jeeezzz.
And then I realized, the way I am writing my blog definitely makes it seem like I am living one permanent vacation. So here are some snapshots of every day life in China:
Nothing says a lazy Sunday quite like finding a park bench by the lake in Changfeng Park and taking a quick little nap before meeting up with friends for some yummy brunch.
While I have learned to live extremely ON THE CHEAP while in Shanghai, I do have to remind myself that sometimes (and only sometimes) it is OK to pay more than 3 kuai, or 40 cents, for a breakfast. This was one of those moments, and this beauteous creation appeared on my table. Cheese omelette from Dakota Bistro=hello happiness.
Each day, I seem to find another massive wet market tucked in a corner on a random Shanghai street. The entrance always looks rather conspicuous but when you walk inside, there are these massive open spaces selling every fruit, vegetable, grain, and type of tofu you could imagine.
There is a CD/DVD store right across the street from my apartment with DVD covers written in Chinese, Japanese, French, and English. The cheap skates wouldn’t bargain down their prices, and I was about to leave out of frustration when another “laowai” walked in to the store and seemed to be a regular. Her trust of the owners made me decide that forking out for their top dollar price was perhaps OK. I bought three DVDs (a box set of both Sister Act movies and then Midnight in Paris) for a whopping 36 kuai, or about 5 bucks.
Canteen style food is a big thing in Shanghai. This restaurant, which received a top rating on China’s version of Yelp, is right around the corner. It’s back to basics mentallty – tissues for napkins, huge cups holding wooden chopsticks, metal trays to bring out your food – made for a very basic meal. But the vegetable and beef noodles that I chose for my meal were some of the most delicious noods I have tasted since arriving in Shanghai. And all for 11 kuai – HALLELUJAH!
The little kids all went back to school yesterday with their little red handkerchiefs tied around their necks and their little matching polos. So needless to say, the children of Shanghai were going absolutely bonkers last night after their first day back in the dungeons. These three kids were getting creative and turning the inventory delivery ramp outside of the Starbucks into a makeshift slide, throwing themselves down face first on the slide, and rolling down it. One mother soon caught on to what they were doing and was less than pleased by their behavior. This is the moment where they were being told off, but clearly one of them doesn’t pay all that much attention to authority figures. Atta boy.