The "learning" begins
Monday I am finally feeling well rested – have not suffered too much from jet lag. We had our first class in the morning and then went on a city tour of Shanghai. During our tour we went to Jing Mao building in the Pu Dong area. Twenty years ago the Pu Dong area was farmland – that is not the case any more. It is the financial center. We went to observation deck on floor 88 and learned that 8 is a lucky number in China.
Next was a visit to the Yu Garden in the Old City. Most of our time there was great people watching and shopping in the market. I learned quickly how to say no thank you “no shie shie”. Many “salespeople” looking for Americans – however, they were much more respectful of my lack of interest than in other parts of the world I have been to (i.e. India). When I said “no shie shie”, they left me alone. However, there was always another person.
Today was the first day for authentic Chinese food. Lunch was interesting with frog and liver being the two most interesting dishes. Fortunately there was other food that I could eat and had plenty of food. I learned that food in Shanghai is not extremely spicy so even the spiciest dishes were not bad at all.
Dinner was a little more interesting. There was chicken feet, pig’s tongue, pig’s stomach, duck stomach as well as many other dishes. In addition, there was a drink that we referred to as “gasoline”. It was kind of like sake but not quite as strong. All in all, the food was really good and there was plenty to eat.
A traditional Chinese dinner is always served family style on a rotating table. As the table spins, you grab what you need or want. You definitely have to good with chopsticks! A couple of us had some interesting adventures with those. One interesting tradition for dinner is with the fish. The fish is served with the head and when it is put on the table the head is always pointed at the most powerful or influential person at the table.