I returned to Shanghai on Friday and have since been doing as much visiting as possible. In just 48 hours, I’ve managed to see the beautiful Jing’an Temple, stroll through Century Park, and wander around both the Marriage Market and AP Plaza, one of the biggest fake markets in the city. To top it all off, I decided that I would once again employ my legs as my main method of transportation, as long as the distances could be travelled in less than two hours. I was quick to regret that decision when it started pouring on me halfway through my long walk home yesterday. Summer is known as a rainy season in China, and I have witnessed it first-hand. The weather was supposed to clear up today, but I’m lucky I still carried my umbrella with me because it started drizzling soon after I started my day, and it quickly turned into an absolute downpour.
I attached pictures of all four of my tourist excursions from the past two days, but I also want to give a little bit of background behind some of them. While everything I’ve seen has been both beautiful and unique, the most interesting experience I’ve had in Shanghai so far has been walking around the Marriage Market. It is held every weekend in the south part of People’s Park, and it is a space where people convene to post advertisements for their children or grandchildren with the hopes of finding a partner for them. In this particular case, the advertisements are posted on umbrellas that are neatly lined up one next to another. It is usually the grandparents that gather behind their grandchild’s umbrella, and it is often done without the latter’s knowledge or consent. The umbrellas always tell the person’s height in a prominent way, and also lists thing such as age, occupation, and accomplishments, amongst other things. It was amazing to see the exchange of contact information that happened, accompanied with some great big smiles, if both sides were satisfied with the information on the mere sheet of paper.
I had also planned to spend quite some time walking around the most famous fake market in Shanghai. However, I had to leave after about 30 minutes, because I had had enough. As I walked through the aisles of the market that is held underneath a subway station, I was approached over and over again about buying “beautiful scarves, good quality watches, trendy shoes, and designer bags.” Often times, I was followed for several aisles by the same person trying to get my attention. I do give them credit for their perseverance, as well as their techniques to get shoppers’ attentions, especially westerners. On three separate occasions, I smiled at a vendor who told me I was pretty, but they were then quick to start listing off the things they were selling. It took me three occasions to learn my lesson, but I decided to head out after that without even attempting to bargain, which I hear is a very big thing there. I’ll consider this a warm-up, and will test my luck out at the Beijing fake market instead.
I have a tour of the NBA China office tomorrow in Shanghai, as well as lunch with a few of the staff members. I’ve had a number of questions run through my head since the end of camp, so I’m excited to get the chance to ask them. Finally, I want to give a quick shout-out to my loyal blog followers thus far, including my family, Corey, and Coach Patch’s grandparents. I’ve really appreciated your various comments and emails, thank you!