Thursday, August 16, 2007

The First Two Days

We’re not yet moved in, and my sister’s Internet connection has been spotty, so I’m not entirely sure when this will get posted, but I wanted to get some more thoughts down.

I am quickly learning that my Brian and Bethany (my sister and her husband) tend to frequent and enjoy the more Americanized places in Shanghai. Yesterday we spent part of the afternoon at a little shopping center. We had a nice lunch there at a little café type place. I had a chicken wrap and Amy had a lox sandwich.

Afterwards we wandered around, checking out a sporting goods store, freaking Starbucks, and a little book shop. That place was very small but had some of the more popular English language books like Harry Potter, Dean Koontz and Stephen King.

I swear to you Starbucks is taking over the world. Shanghai is a large city and it is very cosmopolitan and international. We have already run into various American, French and German shops. I’ve seen a KFC, McDonalds and Burger King here without even looking. But Starbucks is everywhere. In two days, and very little travel, I’ve already seen five stores.

We also spent some time with a girl I used to go to college with. I haven’t seen her in ten years, but she was pretty instrumental in getting my sister to come to China and thus my own bad self.

Last night we went Super Brand Mall, a big shopping mall located in Pudong, near the Pearl Tower. That’s the new area of Shanghai that has the big tall buildings that are in pretty much every picture of Shanghai, especially those at night. It creates a lovely skyline and is very pretty.

To get there we took our first Subway in China. It was pretty much like every subway I’ve ever ridden – very crowded and full of meandering beggars. One lady had her small child latched to her and a plastic cup that she stuck in everybody’s face.

I understand that there are poor people and that sometimes they have to beg. I feel sorry for that and try to help. I understand that some of those very people have small children and they have to take them begging. I also understand that having a baby is a pretty good way to make people feel sorry for you and make them give more. Still, it feels like she was using her child to get cash.

Sad, really.

The mall was gigantic and very American. Capitalism is everywhere I guess.

This morning we had to go to the police station for our temporary residence form. My wife’s boss and her assistant took us there. We got lost. Or rather my wife’s boss got lost as she was driving. Luckily the assistant knew where to go and set us straight.

There is apparently no parking at the police station, so the boss lady had to drop us off while the assistant helped us through the process of registering. Mostly it was sitting and waiting.

We got the certificates, called the boss and came home.

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