Fast Train to Shanghai

Trip Start May 04, 2011
Trip End Oct 08, 2012

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Flag of China  , Shanghai Shi,
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Getting to Shanghai was fairly simple, clean and civilized. I arrived around 6:00PM and went to the Nanjing East Exit as instructed by Joel my CS host while in Shanghai. Joel is a NY Jew in his 70's and I am officially his first Couchsurfer .Although he had warned me about his chain smoking, I figured beggers can't be choosers and I opted to stay with him nonetheless. Actually he was so helpful during my time of distress with arranging for my replacement credit cards to be sent to his house, that it felt right to stay by him. 
Joel hasn’t resided in America for sometime, he has two years already in Shanghai and previously lived some 20 plus years in India. He is an educated man with many resources as proven by his effort to assist his young Chinese girlfriend to get accepted into graduate programs at Harvard and MIT. 

Day 2 in Shanghai I connected with Chi from Korea and together we walked around Shanghai in the rain. I met her in Xitiandi, an area with high-end cafes, bars and boutique shops. Feeling a little homesick I broke down and paid $4.50USD for a tall Frappuccino at Starbucks.

Chi might as well be American, she studied in Chicago and is quite the little partier. Definitely more about the nightlife she had a nice set up here in Shanghai. She was staying with a Canadian friend who lives in a ritzy apartment with a driver and connections to the models lifestyle. Each night it was all about which group of socials who would have table service. As enticing as it sounded I never did make it out with her.

Meanwhile we spent the day walking through the antique market on our way to the touristy shopping area of Yu Gardens. We spent a little time admiring one of the nearby teahouses just to see the set up but didn't stay for tea in the end. Next we walked along the Bund appreciating the view of the skyscrapers across the river and then after failed attempts at adding more credit to my phone and locating a tampon it seemed like a brilliant idea to duck into the seven stars Waldorf Astoria for some first class assistance.

That night I met up with Eric, another CS acquaintance, he has lived in China for 4-5 years, speaks Mandarin fluently and is passionate about the culture and people. After I bit the bullet and spent $52USD on a copy of Lonely Planet China, Eric and his girlfriend picked me up for some delicious cuisine from the Xinjiang province. It was nice to try kebabs and bread for a change. It is always a pleasure to hang with locals. Post dinner we went to the famous Cotton Club to listen to live music. I was hoping for some real blues or jazz but it was a little more country than anything else. Eric and his girlfriend whose name is escaping me, provided a few pointers for my itinerary through the Yunan Provence and maybe I’ll meet up with him again upon my return to Shanghai.
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