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July 31, 2006 - Shanghai, China

The Luxury of a Hot Shower

Slept for the first time in weeks past 9 - right up until 10. Had an awesome hot shower with plenty of pressure in a tiny tin stall at the hostel. Really have to remember that feeling, yak-heated shower water just doesn’t do it from what I’ve heard.

Our field coordinator knew of a local joint for breakfast - plastic tubs of food setup right on the sidewalk. A to-go container was filled with dishes of choice - for me some fried potatos, lotus, garliced greens, pumpkin and rice - a really nice mix. The people here are really quite accomodating, especially after you try a bit of Mandarin. A big smile cracks open, they repeat what you said at mach speed and, laughing, call over their buddies to see the funny lao wei1 giving the language a go.

Walked to the Shanghai museum from breakfast and went through the seal and painting galleries. I can’t wait to have my wai ban2 give me a (hopefully rediculous) Chinese name so I can have it engraved on an official seal. Many of the book stores here have blank seal stones, some cheap soapstone and others expensive semi-precious minerals, and offer to engrave them for you. Spent the rest of the day getting lost, snacking on street food and finally had dinner.

Ran into our first real hurdle here - the internet place doesn’t do gmail - so email will have to wait for at least another day or two. That doesn’t mean it wonk work from the States though…

Leaving for Nanjing early tomm. AM by train - heard great things about soup dumplings there - can’t wait for dinner!

[1] Lao Wei - The term in China for “foreigner.”

[2] Wai Ban - I think this might be a made up term for the foreign experts official at each of our posts. Our “minder” if you will.

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