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Marriage Market, Class and a City Tour!

China HS

We started the week on Sunday when we got on a bus with a hilarious little tour guide to explore the city of Shanghai, China! He spoke choppy English and announced to us he would “examine the city with us to show all the pearls and jewels of Shanghai.” Other good quotes from him—“This is my associate. He drives the bus. He treats this bus like his second wife!” and “Use GPS coordinates to find things. Maybe you will use GPS coordinates to find your soul mate!” I don’t really know how that works but it sounds like he has got it all figured out.

We went to the marriage market in People’s Square, which is basically like real life for Chinese parents wanting to marry off their children it is a large event with each family bringing resumes of their daughter or son and headshots to hand out. To me, it seemed like it was quite an extreme event but, according to the tour guide, it is quite effective.

After, we headed off to the Bund to take pictures and admire the skyline. And although it was covered with smog and clouds, the skyline was still beautiful. But most of all, the humor at the Bund was when we literally took part in a couples wedding photos. They saw a huge tour group of Westerners and wanted to have us in their photos, so we soon had a crowd gathered around us taking pictures of the Americans and the bride and groom. I don’t have the picture of us with the newlyweds, but I do have a picture of all the people taking pictures of us.

The last stop was in Pudong, the new side of town on the opposite side of the river. We didn’t go up into any buildings but did get to walk around and take some good pictures.

Overall the day was exhilarating, informational and exuasting, and I, for one, now know a ton more about the city of Shanghai!

Aye yai yai, on Monday we had the first Chinese class. And it was definitely more difficult then I expected (primarily because the teacher spoke mostly in Chinese!) But I guess you’ll never learn to swim if you never leave the shallow end. So I just jumped and tried to understand what Cheng Laoshi and Wang Laoshi were saying.

After class, we went with Shirley to the 3D Art Museum in this big “entertainment center” (a.k.a. a super fancy mall). It was probably the most surreal experience I’ve ever had. Weird pictures painted on the walls, floors and ceilings made it look “3D”, so you could take pictures “in” the exhibit. See the photos to examine the weirdness.

After a full week of class we got to go on a fun excursion to Nanjing and then on Saturday we all got in a van that would take us out to the Jiangsu water village, about an hour outside Shanghai. The driver got a little lost on the way there but after driving through a few rice fields and asking for help from many fruit vendors, we found our way to the village. Shirley gave us a little introduction to the town and then bought our tickets into this traditional garden area. We roamed around the gardens which were absolutely gorgeous and serene, with pods lining about a dozen pagodas. But after that meditative experience, we stepped out into the chaotic markets. We were free to roam about and shop. And we definitely shopped. We bargained and bargained until satisfied that we weren’t being ripped off. Lily bought some sandals, Janae got a skirt and I got a cute silk tank top. We then managed to get utterly lost on the way out, but after again asking shop keepers where the gate was, we found Shirley, Matt, Christian and the van driver and drove home utterly exhausted. We ate dinner back at the Muslim noodle house near campus and then went to bed. It was a terrific but exhausting day and week.

-The above post was contributed by Finlay Scanlon, Shanghai Summer 1.

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