First place I found was a convenience store a couple places down from the hotel for water. Thank goodness. I kept walking back toward this mall I had seen. Went by some restaurants but looking in only saw Chinese characters and decided not to try ordering there just yet. Walked to Wanda Plaza which is a mall. Went and ate at the Pizza Hut. My waitress did not speak English at all. So, I just pointed to the pictures and luckily got what I wanted. When she served me my pizza she said something in Chinese that I took to meant careful, it is hot, since they usually do that at Pizza Hut and the gestures were the same. After finishing I wandered around the mall to see what they had. Stopped in the Dairy Queen and had my first blizzard in 12 plus months. I had chocolate because one of the girls only spoke a few words of English and I couldn't figure out how to add other ingredients to my blizzard. It tasted good anyway. I saw lots of dragonflies flying around when I was walking. Also, noted there was lots of walkers, bike riders, mopeds, scooters, and bike taxis. Not much car traffic but they use their horns tons to signal to others when they go into different lanes, someone is not going fast enough, a pedestrian is crossing, etc. There were food vendors set up along the roads or sidewalks. Also, taxis will stop in the middle of traffic to pick up a ride. Went back to my hotel and went to bed early.
|Part of the City Temple of Shanghai|
Thursday woke up at 5:50 and was awake for awhile and then went back to sleep until 8:20a.m. Wanted to go to Yuyuan Garden. The ladies got a cab for me after I wrote down where I wanted to go on paper. When the guy dropped me off it was in front of Yu Fashion Garden and I thought I was in the wrong place. I was disappointed but he spoke no English and I had no idea what to do. Wandered around this place which was another type of mall with high end items. Went up to the top floor and found a bathroom. When I entered there were lots of women using the toilets with the doors open or some not completely shut. I couldn't read the electronic sign on the front of each door since it was in Chinese. Some had number like it was a count down or something, but I couldn't figure it out. I was just trying to find an open stall. The squat toilets are different than they are in Malaysia. There was no toilet paper, but I came prepared and people put their tissues in a garbage pan instead of the toilet. Anyway when I was at the top there were several restaurants that weren't open but I could look out since some of the roof was open and saw all these shops across the street. I didn't want to take a cab back to the hotel so I wandered over. Went through one of the passageways to a courtyard and ended up at the City Temple of Shanghai. Went through the temple and saw the different rooms, statutes, people burning incense, bowing to the statues, and people playing instruments. Once I was through there and came out on the back side I came into another courtyard with buildings and shops all around. I bought a fan since it was kind of hot and humid. Went to the information desk for a map, but no maps. Wandered around and a girl approached me about going to a silk shop. I told her I wasn't interested in doing that right then. Wandered around more and another lady asked me what I was looking for and I said the Yuyuan Garden and so she pointed the way. Went across the courtyard and across a bridge over this large pond to the entrance to Yuyuan Garden. Went through the Garden. It was not what I expected. No real flowers. Lots of buildings, some with tables, chairs and decorated inside.
|Some of Yuyuan Garden|
Many cool rock formations. Ponds that had huge looked like goldfish. There was one guy who was sitting on the walkway feeding the fish and the fish were coming up out of the water and he was stroking their heads. One turtle all by his lonesome. Walkways with benches were running all between the buildings. Some walkways went through the rock formations. After going through the garden I came out back to the bridge and crossed the pond. I took a couple pictures of myself. Then I went back to the buildings with the shops. I saw a Haagen Daaz so I decided to go have a snack. These two ladies approached me when I was entering and wanted to take me to a tea house and pearl place. I told them I was going to have ice cream but thanks anyway. I had a great dessert with two types of chocolate ice cream and a small chocolate cake and chocolate that had been drizzled into shapes and then hardened and stood up on it's side. It was called something lovers. I am sure it was meant for couples to share, but I ordered it anyway. When I came out the ladies where still there. They were trying to get me to go to the tea house/pearl shop but I told them I was not interested. I told them I wanted to see the silk house, so they told me to follow them and they would take me. I followed them because I didn't know where it was but I was hoping they would just drop me off. Nope, they hung around.
|More of Yuyuan garden|
They took me down into the basement first to the bedding area, but as I am just renting a room I have no need for fancy bedding and no way to get it back with me. Then I went to the clothing section. Most things were small. I did find some long silk robes that I kind of liked but wasn't sure. I got a double sided silk robe back at Christmas but needed something lighter. They had hand painted ones that were more expensive and since this was my first real day sightseeing I was not sure what I might find in the future. I decided to pass. They asked me if I wanted to see silk paintings so I said sure. They took me upstairs and I looked at those. They have silk around the edges but are painted on rice paper. They were very nice. They had small to very large. They were trying to convince me to buy a large one but I told them where I rent a room I cannot hang things on the walls, which is true, and not sure when I would have the ability to hang it up. They did bring in a lady that spoke more English that explained the significance of the paintings but I don't remember it. After that I was ready to go. They insisted I go to the tea house. I could try the tea for free. So, I went to the tea house. I tried a few different types of tea. They were trying to get me to buy the large container for 100 yuan but I wasn't sure I would drink that much tea. They also were trying to get me to buy a glass tea pot, because I had chosen the blooming tea as my favorite. I told them I didn't think I would have room in my suitcase. They kept pressuring me and told me I could have the little "pee pee boy" for free. It is this little boy figure that if you pour water on his head, he pees. They tried to get me to buy the small container for 50 yuan. To divert them I said I would look at the pearls. The pearls were ok, nothing that I could not get myself elsewhere. The rings were all in sterling silver with small diamonds. One that was ok had a stone missing. I told them I was not interested but they kept trying to get me to buy something. They kept asking me what the problem was. Was it the cost? I told them the cost was fine I just wasn't interested. I finally told them I had to go because I was going to be late for my next thing, which was true. I left with the one lady still trying to get me to buy something. I told her that maybe I would come back another day. When we got to the bottom it was pouring rain. I did have an umbrella and was trying to use that but it is one that collapses and it is small. I was trying not to get too wet. I didn't see any taxis and then a guy in a black van drove up and said he was a taxi, so I got in as it really started pouring. I tried to tell them my hotel and where it was but he didn't understand. He dialed a number and I talked to a lady giving her the address and she communicated with him. As we were going along and got to a certain part it stopped raining. Again there were the people selling items in between cars. He stopped and bought a phone charger, but at least he didn't ask me for money. He told me his name and said I don't speak English. He gave me his business card, which I kept even though I wouldn't be able to use him again and communicate with him. When we got close to my hotel I was able to navigate the rest of the way. I got back and got changed for the conference.
I walked over to the school campus for drinks and snacks. I still was not caught up on water, so was glad they had bottles there. I sat down at a table and a man name Ben came over and introduced himself and we visited. His friend Norman joined us. We all got some food. I had satay and vegetables. I found out some about other schools and two websites to use in looking for a new job when my contract is up. Then it was announced to go to the basement for the keynote speakers. We had great speakers. I really enjoyed every one. After the key notes we met with our cohorts to get the scoop on that. The Upper School English and Social Studies was large, about 40 plus people, so they split it SS and Eng. I chose to stay with English. We talked a little bit about how the conference was going to run and then were dismissed for the evening. We had homework on the wiki for our group. I stayed for a small amount of time to complete that on my Ipod using the school's wifi since I knew I could not do it back at the hotel. I went back to my hotel to relax. Got hungry later but the convenience store was closed so figured other places would be as well.
Friday morning I got up and walked to the school. It was lightly raining. I had donuts for breakfast. We had more great keynote speakers and then we got together with our cohorts. Everyone had a laptop. I did not bring my personal one because I have always gone to conferences were we were in a computer lab if we needed it, so didn't know I need to bring one. The school does not issue us laptops so I did not have one from work to bring. Most people had a laptop, Ipad, and Iphone. I had none of those. I was like uh oh, but didn't know what to do. Went to two workshops over lunch. The second one got out 15 minutes early so I was able to get lunch, since there was no box lunch like was mentioned on the schedule. Then when I got to the afternoon cohort session the leader, Jabiz, approached me and said I should go to the front desk to see if they had an extra laptop I could use. I was grateful, but also felt like I was a little kid on my first day of school not knowing any of the ropes. I went to the front desk and then directed me to room behind. Again I felt like a little kid going to the office with all the principals. I explained I didn't have a computer and Steve lent one to me. He went to get it while I went back to my cohort and then we swapped my passport since that is all I had on me for the laptop. He wanted something less valuable but that was all I had. I wasn't worried though. I was able to use the laptop for the cohort session and then the two workshops after that. It helped to have a laptop, but I still took notes. I feel like I have loss technology ground this last year, so I struggled to keep up. At the end of the day I returned the laptop and through an e-mail my Mom suggest I look into Ipads. I got directions in Chinese to the Mac store closest to us. Went back to the hotel to get a cab. A guy was sitting in a chair waiting for his and two ladies were also trying to get one. The ladies were going close to the place I was, I thought. We all decided to take one cab since it was a Friday night and would be hard to get one. We visited in the cab, but I don't think we exchanged names. The guy got dropped off first and then we continued on towards the Bund. I got out with the ladies because I thought it was close and I could walk to my destination. I started heading toward the Bund.
|Along the Bund|
|I was on back side, but still rising from ground.|
I am in front of the Ritz Carlton hotel. I go up to the security guard in the parking lot. He points back to the building I was just in. It is starting to really rain and I am frustrated by now and tired and hungry. I take cover under the awning of this bank. I walk along in front of the bank trying to decide my next move. I look across the road to see what is there, but in front of me rising out of a hole in the ground is a glass cylinder with the Apple logo on it. I can't believe it. I go around the wall and down the many stone steps to the front of the glass cylinder and then down into the ground. The shop is under ground. There are tons of people in the shop. I find the Ipad2s and try to look at the information but it is all in Chinese. I push the button that shows a little shirt and several workers come over before one comes that speaks a little English. I tell her I want to buy an Ipad2. She says they only have wifi one and not 3G, so better to wait. I didn't know what to do then because that was about the extent of her speaking abilities. I go over and sit under the winding staircase where others are sitting. I try again to call back home to someone more knowledgeable but my calls are still barred. I send an e-mail but know I won't get a reply in time. It is 9:15p.m. and I decide to give up. I walk up and out and over and across the street on the walkway above the street. I walk over the the McDonald's since I am super hungry. I point out what I want and eat that. Then I go to the nearest down escalator to go to ground and find a cab. I see an empty taxi that is just pulling away. I try to hurry towards it but don't make it. A guy in a silver old beat up van says cab and I say yes. I had gotten a card with the hotel's information so I hand that to him. He says ok. We get in and he calls a friend trying to figure out where my hotel is located. He eventually gets me there. He tried to converse with me and even draws Chinese characters on his palm with his other hand but I just shrug my shoulders since I don't understand. We get back to my hotel after 10p.m. and I shower and collapse on the bed, but am wired and can't sleep.
Saturday I struggle to get up. I make it to the conference in time for donuts again and then for more keynote speakers. I track down Steve again and borrow the laptop telling him I didn't purchase the Ipad. I go to the cohort and one workshop on twitter. The second session was mislabeled so instead of trying to figure out another one I just hang in the library and do some reflecting. I also did some searching on other sights to see. Then I grab something to eat before the last cohort session. At our last cohort session we broke up into groups to talk about things we were going to try or had been using. I decided even though do 6-10 to go to the 9/10 rather than 6-8. There were only two other people in my group. One was one of the ladies I had shared a cab with the night before. She decided since myself and the other person did not work at one to one laptop schools we had nothing to offer and left to another group. So the other person and I just talked some about our schools, etc. After that is one last session that is another really good one. Then we are to the wrap up and raffle. At the wrap up is two more keynote speakers. Then there is the raffle. I almost never win but I like to go anyway. After that I head back to the hotel. I visited with several people at the conference but as far as I could tell all of them had been sent from their schools with at least one person and sometimes a group. Everyone else seemed to have attended this before and had friends they had worked with or knew from previous conferences. I did not get any invitations for anything after but oh well. I am fine doing my own thing. I also thought maybe they would have had a list or something with things to do and see. Most conferences I have been to offer that. I returned the laptop and then went back to my room. I walked back down to Wanda plaza and had McDonald's again since Pizza Hut was busy and all the other restaurants were too. It was easy to do. Then I walked back to my room and did lots of reflecting on my thoughts about the conference before bed.
I went to the Museum next. It was a nice museum. They had multiple rooms with different displays. I saw the bronze, cultural costumes, painting, pottery and the special exhibit the Maori tribe. That one there were no pictures allowed because their items are considered sacred. There were a few more rooms but I decided to call it quits. I decided that I wanted to go to Nanjing road next since I thought that it was close. I came out on another side of the museum and saw the water fountain that had all these granite looking posts that people sat on resting and listening to music. I wandered around kind of aimlessly looking for another marker or some sort of map. I finally found an entrance to another underground section. When I got down there they had all sorts of shops and a subway line and a plethora of people. I did see some signs in English pointing the way to Nanjing road and so I followed them. There were a couple exits. I took the one that also said New World. I came up and saw a building but not a way to cross and it looked like the road was to my right, so I went back down and over a stop and back up to Nanjing road. As I came up the steps there was a sea of people behind me flowing out of the tunnel and a sea of people coming at me. I thought I don't want to try to walk down this road with all these people. If I see any shops I want to look at it would be hard to get through all the people to get to them. I did see some food shop that I wanted to stop at since I was hungry. Too many people though. I decided to walk away from that area to see if I could find a better place for food or taxi. I walked down back past the people's square on the opposite side of the road and kept walking. I got to an overhead walkway and went up and looked around and came down on the other side and went to the straight ahead towards like a dinosaur museum or something and then I decided that didn't look right so I turned around and we back and then turned left and walked and walked. I had no idea where I was going. I finally saw some buildings that kind of looked like they were by the Bund so I walked in that direction. I passed lots of fast food places but all were crowded. I stopped at a McDonald's once but there was no place to sit, so I just kept going. Then I started getting into some neighborhoods were there were less people walking and the homes weren't as nice and very crowded and people really looked at me. So then I decided to cross the street and walked back a ways to the right. Then I turned down a street to the left and walked towards what I thought was the Bund. Finally, I came to this area that had Yu this and Yu that, so I thought maybe I was by the Yuyuan garden again. I crossed another street and wandered down an ally, and came out in this square with lots of shops that kind of looked like the Yuyuan area. People were like "Lady, shirt, watches,"etc. I just ignored them and kept walking. I was looking for a place to eat but everything was packed. There were copious amounts of people that weren't there on Thursday. I ended up back at Yu fashion garden and their shops were all open. I went to the Haagen Daaz but they were packed. So, I finally decided to get a cab. A guy asked me "what you want" I said cab so he pointed across the street. I crossed but then I was behind all these bikes and scooters so I had to keep walking until I got to a clear spot. Luckily a taxi came right away and showing him the card he knew where to go. I got back quickly. This was after 5p.m. so I decided to drop off my things and then walk back to Wanda Plaza and had Pizza Hut again. I noticed in the menu one of the appetizers was teryaki octopus with quail eggs. I did not try that though. After I ate I head back to my hotel to pack for leaving.
|Nanjing road-trying to capture the sea of people but too hard at same level.|
Monday morning I got up at 5a.m. and got ready. I decided I better go early. I had them help me get a cab at the desk. There were actually 3 waiting out front. They guy had me talk to a lady that he called because I didn't know if I was supposed to be terminal one or two. I was terminal two, so they lady conveyed that to him and I got there in plenty of time. After checking in as I was walking by the shops this lady tried to get me to buy this program to learn Chinese. I want to learn Chinese but didn't have much cash left and wasn't in the mood to buy it. I went through security and there were more shops. They had more silk robes and lots of other things to buy but I don't have anywhere to put things and it would be hard to get it in my bag. The flight was fine, there was some turbulence. I watched movies. Then I had time to pass before I left KLIA. I ate at Burger King. I saw a man doing his prayers right there in one of the chairs. He made like he was washing himself and then turned his chair and did them seated in his chair. The flight to Kuantan left late. Then we were getting ready to descend we were told there was a nasty storm in Kuantan so we just had to hang out in the air and wait. I was so ready to be on the ground. When we landed I was a little afraid because it seemed like we were going awfully fast and I was afraid we were going to run into something or off the runway or who knows what. We finally came to a safe stop. They had umbrellas for us when we exited the plane to walk across the tarmac. I got my bag easily and got a taxi easily. I was glad to be back some place familiar where people would speak more English, but then the taxi driver took a way I had never gone before and so I panicked slightly not knowing where I was and it was dark out. We did find our way though.
Next year the conference is going to be in Beijing and I hope to go but I am going to learn some Chinese before I do.