7:30am, IN THE MORNING, I had to leave. For those of you who know me well you know this is a very painful thing for me to do. I will and can, but I would much rather stay in my warm cozy bed listening to the sound of the bamboo swaying in the wind, the cars going by, and the birds outside my window singING. I managed to get up and ready and downstairs with plenty of time to have a croissant and cup of coffee. Mr. Gary, Ms. Evelyn, and I piled in the car and our driver took us each to our destinations. Mine was last and it was in Old Shanghai.
I met my tour guide and the four others in the group. She took us through hidden paths and secret stairwells and we discovered markets and experienced “true China.” Food was being made on the streets, candy, toys, and jewelry! I walked around the secret fabric market and am planning on going back to have a few things made. I don’t know how to describe all these markets! They are packed and absolutely insane. The xiaolongboa lunch was truly an experience of dumplings and other authentic Chinese food. I ate crab dumplings and some bread thing with lime green goo inside…. Big step on the seafood – you all should be VERY proud! One of the oddest things you could buy that I saw was a keychain with a live frog in it, or you could get one with a fish!! Around 2:30 the tour ended and I was going to walk around some more but it was too confusing to do by myself and some of the areas would be better to have two people – although I must say Shanghai is a lot safer than most places in Charlotte!
So I finally located an empty taxi and hopped in handing him a piece of paper with my address to my compound on it. We were off, I noticed the meter was going rather quickly and judging from my experience with taxis I knew this guy was doing something fishy. There was nowhere to get out, he was driving took quickly, and I needed the piece of paper with my address back so he didn’t still have it. Usually a 30 minute taxi ride to HSH is roughly 35 RMB, after about five minutes with this guy it was already 60 RMB! We came up to Carrefour and I told him I changed my mind and wanted to shop at Carrefour instead and needed my address back. He handed it to me and pulled over, the total being 184 RMB – if I had of taken it back to the compound it would have been about 195 RMB. In my wallet I had 100s, a 10, and two 5s. I opened my door pointed to the price, said BU HAO, threw the 20 RMB on hthe chair in front of me and ran. He got out of his car yelling and started to run after me but I had my tennis shoes on and slipped through some bushes and into a large crowd at Carrefour and he had to get back to his car. ***Mom and Grandparents I love you and please DO NOT worry!*** I figured it was bound to happen sometime with taking a taxi multiple times a day, I had been warned and told not to pay them. I bought an orange soda and sat down with some people, a bit shaken. Walked to Dragonfly and had a wonderful relaxing and stress relieving full body massage, I was in heaven!
I started walking home and a street kid ran out and asked for my drink, I shouldn’t encourage risky behavior like this but I was done with it and there was still half left. He was probably three and it made me smile when I saw him gulp it down! I was about to grab a cab and head home when Kristen rode up beside me on her bike and offered to walk with me. We ended up going to her house and watching a movie. Walked home and ate a wonderful curry chicken dinner! Enjoy the pictures, I didn’t eat the stuff on the streets, maybe next time ;) haha.