My third day in Shanghai with Mandarin Journeys started a bit differently than the others. Instead of waking up early and bussling off for an adventure, we had time to explore on our own. Some worked, some slept, and I decided to brave the city by myself and attempt to go shopping.
Now let me explain why I say “brave.” When you are an American in China and go to the marketplaces, you basically are wearing a sign that says, “Come up to me and try to sell me a bunch of crap.” Don’t get me wrong, I get it. It’s their job and they want to sell this stuff. But, it’s a bit intimidating if you aren’t prepared for it. There will be a crowd of people gathered around you at a freakishly close range trying to get you to come to their store front. I went from being polite to showing them invisible force fields around me that they weren’t to cross. But hell, if you are looking for a purse, holy cow all mighty, these markets are the place to go. Wow.
After successfully completing my mission of purchasing souvenirs and returned to the hotel, it was off to the town of Zhujiajiao for us. However, what should have been a 1.5 hours trip turned into 3 hours because of the endless traffic in China. I seriously have never seen anything like it. I’m going to do an entire post on the automobile tendencies and traffic insanities of China.
However, when we finally go to Zhujiajio, it was well worth it. It’s one of the original water towns built on the Grand Canal in China. The Grand Canal was a waterway hand made over 1,700 years ago as a means to connect Beijing and Shanghai. And the town was so cool to tour. It reminds you of Venice with homes built around tiny canals and restaurants and businesses weaving in and around the water.
And unlike the hike that almost made me puke on Chinese tea leaves yesterday, today was a day to stroll, drink beer on the waterfront and say no to the street vendor attempting to sell you baby turtles.
Though, I did really want to say yes to this 3D ice cream. How fun looking are these ice cream bars??
And then, we ended the day with a bang. A private dinner for us at the Suzhou Marriott Hotel. Great food, great people and a night of relaxing and taking in the amazing world around me right now. And I especially love this hotel right now because the room is absolutely gorgeous (it has a claw foot tub, people!!!) and get this – IT HAS FAST INTERNET!!! Woo hoo!!
But I can’t get too comfortable. We might have had a bit of relaxing and traveling today but tomorrow we hit the ground running. Rumor has it that we are doing some things that will definitely lead to some hilarious stories… Stay tuned.