Shanghai and Japan: Day 2
Ok, I am coherent now. Yesterday was… something. I can never sleep on a flight and the ones over 12 hours wreck me. Also, for the record, Bing sucks. Since Google is blocked, I have had to Bing everything when near WiFi. Life without Google is… different.
We spent the day going to some of the more popular sights in Shanghai: the Bund waterway, the world’s biggest Starbucks, and the knockoff market.
Heading over to the Bund, you notice how clean of a city Shanghai. There are no homeless people on the streets (for a number of reasons good and bad) and the streets are free of trash. This is pretty crazy since Shanghai is so densely populated and children literally go to the bathroom on the sidewalks. But the street cleaning crews armed with scratchy brooms do an amazing job of maintaining the city.
The Bund is cool – I remember it well from my last trip to Shanghai with EF Education First. We came at nighttime, so it was nice to have a second chance to explore during the day.
Oh yeah. In Shanghai, you are always being watched. Cameras everywhere, which lowers the crime rate. They also have facial recognition algorithms running on them. We even saw police doing random I.D. checks of people on the streets, not sure what that was for, definitely sketchy.
Next stop was the world’s largest Starbucks. Though when I just ‘Binged’ to double check that, it said the largest was actually in Seoul. Whatever Bing. The Starbucks was cool – pipes all around that had beans rattling through them via air pump transportation. As cool as it was, my Nitro Cold Brew came out to ~$10 US dollars. Classic Starbucks.
After Starbucks we wandered the city more as Drew showed us around. Saw some interesting nuances of Chinese culture – like their food delivery service which you can see everywhere. People riding scooters with blue bags on the back. You can also see people riding the yellow ‘Ofos’ in the back (like Hubway).
The last main stop of the day was the knockoff market, where you can buy all sorts of fun things. All fake, albeit pretty good fakes. Drew is a master of this domain. Being able to speak Mandarin as a foreigner gives him a massive advantage in bargaining, which most of the store owners laughingly admitted to him.
The lady above wanted to sell us fake Pokemon cards for 250 Yuan (divided by 6 to get $40). We really didn’t care for them that much, so we walked away… but she followed us down 2 hallways and desperately got all the way down to 50. Lol. We still said no, but decided an hour later that why not. $8 for hundreds of fake Pokemon cards was kind of fun. When we went back, we told her co-worker that she offered us them for 50 Yuan and he kept saying “No, she’s CRAZY” and explaining stories of why she was crazy and we couldn’t trust her price. She ran away in shame while this was going on lol. To which Drew would reply “Nooooo you know she said 50. You have no more bargaining power here.” We ended up getting them for 60.
The rest of the market was just as fun. One shop keeper even remembered Drew from a past bargaining battle they had. And, for my EF friends, checkout the bike uniforms I found at every other store. How are they already stocked with these? Didn’t the bike team start a month or two ago?
Their signature move for dealing with foreigners is pulling out the calculator and just typing in numbers, always extremely over-inflated. Even when you get them well under half of their asking price for an item, it could still be way too much. I suck at bargaining this way… so it was all in Drew’s hands.
The day wound down with us heading over to hot pot for dinner. Drew also has 2 more finals left tomorrow.
As a final bonus pic… I wish I could do a separate blog or Tumblr or something on the hilarious translations on merchandise and designer clothing here.