My body has adjusted and I am eating regular Chinese everyday for lunch and dinner. I will admit I partake of a huge Western/Asian buffet every morning because it is included in my accommodations. Meihua Rd was a scary area that was near the bubble where I call my second home. Now I can walk among its many restaurants and have locals waving or telling me hello. Two restaurant owners greet me by name and know my order in the evenings. The local bar feels like Cheers even though I have stopped that bad habit near the end of this trip. So many people ask if I lose weight, I can tell you I do not!
74 days in China initiates the need to start becoming educated with the immigration laws. I, like many other, exceeded my work Visa length of stay which is 60 days. Instead of following my other Western friends with a trip to Hong Kong and HKDL I chose to go to Taipei, Taiwan. Because of trip 6 I triggered some sort of review and I have been recommended to get a temporary residence permit in China. There is an obscure law that does not allow a M Visa to spend more than 90 days in China in a calendar year. I have 104 days logged to date. I start the Zvisa process now. It is a bummer that I will never need to leave the country to recharge my Visa but these are the cards dealt.
Another change is communication. It is funny to read back at my earlier posts and read about how cool it was to Skype back home through my blackberry. Now with an iphone I can stream live video and audio back home whenever I want. My data plan is unlimited so calls are effortless with audio facetime. I stream to my family via Apple's icloud pictures I take almost instantly. Sally and the kids send me pictures so I feel connected even at 8000 miles away.
My American Asian history education was non-existent. I have to document that this has been very educational on the impact of the Japanese on the Chines. My first introduction was the bags of beer in Qingdao. Japanese drink out of bowl so they prefer to take their beer home in bags to drink out of their saucers. The locals in Qingdao still do this because their town was the last city to be held by the Japanese during WWII. I learned about 300K massacre in Nanjing ( was Nanking) where the invading Japanese nearly wiped-out a whole city. The local English paper, China has been printing recently release documents that describe Japanese war criminals that dies in Chinese prisons. Let me just say the Japanese at the time were as brutal or worse than Hitler in every way. This has led me into so many discussions with my local colleagues.
The day trips are adventurous. I travel alone as most of the other westerners prefer to stay in the Disney bubble and get excited for a dinner in a western restaurant in downtown Shanghai. Eating during daytrips is still the biggest challenge. With apps like Tripadvisor and travelwiki you can find restaurants that have English menus but then you spend so much time trying to get to these restaurants that you burn your day time up. I choose to keep trudging forward with quick snacks off the street or from a local family mart (7 eleven like). My determination to keep walking no matter how many blisters I have or my lack of civilized food is why I think I travel alone.
Travel is safe and in China people seem to want to help when I need directions. This breaks the stereotype that I was taught in my culture classes or the Chinese are changing.
Enjoy the photos but realize I photograph the ancient Chinese tourist spots. China is 90% modern with a few sections with traditional Chinese architecture.