A Week in Shanghai, China Part 3

bya Gabrielle at 4:07 AM

Without any further delay, let me take you back to the week we spent in Shanghai. Like all things you enjoy, it went by a little too fast. Phil and I will need to go back in order to see the rest of it. We were only able to see a portion of the city.

Once Phil started feeling a little better, we decided to venture out into the massive city. And that is no exaggeration. Shanghai is something like 8 times bigger than New York City and has an unofficial population of 20 million. Although, if you asked anyone important, you might hear a much lower number like 14 million. Apparently, there are a lot of illegal immigrants here and they all live as squatters in the apartment buildings that are constantly being constructed.

Our first stop – food. We had been taking advantage of the western food that Shanghai had to offer. There are no McDonalds or Pizza Huts in Fuyang – only KFCs, so we tried to stock pile as many Big Mac’s and pepperoni pizzas that we could fit into our tummies. It was good to eat the yummy fast food fatness, but we could only eat so much of it. A Big Mack or a piece a pizza for every meal can make you wish for Chicken Feet and Snails . . . . okay, maybe not, but you get my point.

Shanghai is a lot easier to get around, in that I mean it is easier to order food because a lot more people speak English here. A lot more people. Almost every restaurant we went into had a English menu or had a server that knew some English. It made life so much easier. In Fuyang, we have to do something I call “Point and Pray”. In Shanghai, we knew pretty much what we were getting right off the bat. The first picture I have included came from a restaurant called Laava restaurant. Weird name, I know. I don’t know if they meant Lava as is hot molten lava or some other strange word I can’t think of. But we were hungry, so we didn’t care what clever name that had picked for their restaurant.

When we walked in, all of the tables were empty. I took this as a bad sign at first, but since I hadn’t seen any other places to eat – we decided to stay. The wait staff didn’t notice we were there for a few seconds because they were all asleep. Yes. Asleep. They were all curled up in the booths or had their heads down on the table. It must have been a very slow day. There was one woman standing behind the counter mindlessly cleaning a glass with a rag. She seemed out of it as well until she looked up at us. She nearly dropped the glass in excitement that she had some one to wait on. She immediately put the glass down, nearly dropping it in her happiness, and brought us a menu. She only spoke Chinese, but it didn’t matter because the menu was in English – so I was happy. An English menu is like a small piece of Heaven. She didn’t seat us right away, which I found weird, so Phil and I decided to order standing up. I ended up getting some Fried Rice and Phil got some Japanese Curry. It was one of the first meals we had had at a restaurant that we liked and knew what we were eating. I wanted to take a picture, and I did, but Phil thought I was insane for taking a picture of my half eaten plate of food. Do note that they had forks for us to use. We’ve gotten pretty used to chopsticks, but it is nice to use what you are used to every once in a while.

After lunch, we decided to visit my second home, Wal-Mart. Going here was one of our top priorities. I know that we are weird, but Wal-Mart is supposed to have everything and we needed to stock up on some things that we couldn’t get back in Fuyang. In order to get to Wal-Mart, we had to take a 20 minute subway ride, and then take another 20 minute walk – stopping every few blocks to ask someone in Chinese were it was. People slowly pointed us in the right direction and soon we saw a familiar sign. I was so happy that I did a little dance in the street. A Wal-Mart Dance of Joy.

It wasn’t quiet like I thought it would be. Mostly, it was just the name that was familiar to us. Other than that, the inside looked a lot like the other grocery stores that we have been to. The RT Mart, that we visit a lot back in Fuyang, is actually bigger and better. It wasn’t until we got to the second floor that we felt like we were in a Wal-Mart. It smelled like a Wal-Mart if that makes any sense and it had more of a design like one, too, except the departments were a lot smaller. I had to take a picture of the sign for the escalator. I felt a little funny holding up my camera to get it. I’m sure some of the Chinese customers thought I was nuts, but I thought that it was funny. The travelator. Heh. I want to know who translates this stuff for them.

Going to grocery stores in China makes me cry. Why you ask? Why? I’ll tell you. Every time that I go to buy fruit or vegetables, I have to walk past the live turtle, eel and crab section. In every grocery store, they have them. Some times they have the turtles in bags, which really makes me sad, but to see them sitting there waiting to bought and eaten totally just ruins my day. I know that it is no different than our Lobsters back home, but I don’t like seeing that either. It is one thing picking out a ripe apple or good looking carrot, but I know I will never be okay with trying to find the best turtle to cook for dinner. And even though I really don’t care that much for Eels, I still feel really bad for them, too. Poor little guys. I know that I have been severed eel a few times. Hopefully, I haven’t been given turtle, but there is no real way to tell. I watched a Chinese family try to pick out a turtle one day. They picked up one and looked as though were sizing it up against the other ones available. Of course, they wanted to get the one that had the most meat on its body and would taste the best with a side of cow stomach. I wish I was lying when I said they ate cow stomach, but I’m not. Why do the Chinese have to have such weird food taste? Why can’t they be meat and potato kind of people?

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