May. 10th, 2012

sarahblack: (Geisha)
Today I went into town with Halla. We visited the area around the temple of Confucius. A very vibrant part of the city! Full of little shops, tourists and those rickshaw drivers - desperate to drag you around in their little carts. There was also the possibility of a boat ride, and I saw a golden tree where you could purchase a red ribbon, inscribe a wish on it, and add it to the multitude of red ribbons already hanging from the golden branches in the hope that your wish will come true.

I resisted the urge to buy all the pretty things on display, but did pick up little gifts for the people I'm going to visit in Japan, and a lovely set of travel cutlery for myself. (I wish I had thought of that before I went on the train from Moscow...) All together the things I bought cost less than a 1000 ISK. I can't get over how cheap everything is here!

Yesterday was pretty uneventful. I did go to an Arabic restaurant with Ash for lunch, though. His friend is the chef, and after he made the food he joined us! Also joining us was a Chinese friend of theirs, Alice. Her English was fantastic! The best I've heard from a Chinese person who has never lived abroad. Anyway, the food was really good. Especially the lamb kebab. Yum!

I also walked past the evening market yesterday evening. It just springs up on the sidewalk! People sell all sorts of things - shoes, electronics, pretty fans and jewelry... you name it, they've got it. Just be careful not too let them notice when you look at the wares. They'll immediately start trying to sell you the stuff, and they can get quite insistent if you look like you've taken a liking to something. Halla was looking at a dress today the the market by the temple, and the lady actually grabbed her by the arm when she didn't like the sound of the price that the lady gave her. When we kept walking away, she started shouting lower and lower prices at us - but still nothing close to a price that she would have given to a Chinese person. That's the problem with being obviously foreign in China - everyone thinks you can afford to pay ten times the price!

My trip to the Chinese cinema the other nights was a lot of fun. The cinema that Halla and I went to was inside a mall. The mall is called the Aquatic Centre because it is full of fountains! Really beautiful ones that spray water in different patterns.

We had time to look at some of the shops before the film started, and I found white chocolate Tim Tams in a fancy supermarket! I didn't buy them, but I was just amazed to find my favourite Australian chocolate biscuit in a supermarket in China. So random!

The cinema itself was quite nice. When we got the tickets we were allowed to pick our seats on a little screen at the ticket counter, so there was no mad rush to get to the best seats. In any case, the showing we went to wasn't sold out. I suppose the Chinese prefer seeing the film with Chinese dubbing?

Halla got us some popcorn, but instead of being salty it was sugary! This was weird, but tasty. Also weird? The size of the 3D glasses we received. They were made for giants with enormous balloon heads! I had to use hair pins to stick them to the side of my head and use tissue paper to create a fake nose that was huge enough to balance the glasses on. It's a good thing they generally keep it dark while the film is being shown, because I must have looked very interesting indeed.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the film (The Avengers). Solid action flick with fun characters and hilarious quips. Thank you Joss Whedon!

Tomorrow I'm going to Shanghai with Halla! We're taking the train, and we should arrive there in the late afternoon. I'm really looking forward to it but I don't know what my internet access will be like while I'm there. I'll be back in Nanjing on Monday.


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Sarah Black

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