The Great Chinese Migration

Last Friday was the start of the National Holiday here where we have a week’s holiday and the whole of China and his wife go away somewhere.We actually have to “give back” two days by teaching next Saturday and Sunday,but never mind.

The students mostly go home except for the ones who live too far away. We decided to go shopping in Shanghai this weekend,mainly to get good winter coats ,as we have been told that it will be very cold here in the winter,and although we have heating in our apartment,there is none in the classrooms. So we went to buy bus tickets.There were no tickets left for the morning bus from Lin’an to Shanghai,so we got some for the 2pm bus.WE made sandwiches and at 2pm set off on our shopping adventure.WE arrived in Shanghai at around 5.30pm and found our way easily to our cheapo hotel by way of the Shanghai metro,which is spotlessly clean,well labelled in Chinese and English and which has a great automated ticket system.You just press on the station you wish to go to,on the machine,it tells you the fare,and then you pay with notes or coins and get the correct change.Easy peasy! Anyhow the cheapo hotel was not exactly luxurious,and was right next to the ferry over the Huangpu river,but no matter.WE walked up and down Nanjing Road that night and snapped a few photos.There were large groups of people singing patriotic songs in the street.

Lin'an Bus station crowded for the Holiday

On Sunday morning we got up and made our way by subway to Nanjing Street again (boy does that place have magnetism!).Then we walked up to North Sichuan Road where there is the wonder known as Qipu Market.I don’t know how to describe this place-it is shopping heaven or hell.Street upon street of shopping malls where the bargainer is King.WE bought a winter coat for Danny,sheepskin UGG boots for me,a bag for school and various other assorted things.After a few hours we realized we were both exhausted and starving.We couldn’t find anywhere to eat,except for little booths with takeaway and our feet were killing us.Finally we found the ubiquitous Chinese KFC and had to fight for a place to sit down. While we were sitting eating a young girl came up and asked to sit next to us.She turned out to be a Finance Major at Ningbo University which is twinned with Nottingham University,so we had a great chat with her. West Nanjing Road

bridge near the hotel

WE did another couple of rounds of the shops and then staggered home to the hotel,planning to dump our purchases and go out to eat.However,at the hotel Danny had some kind of stomach attack which he first thought was kidney stones.I quickly ascertained where the International Hospital was and spoke to the pretty useless Harel Insurance agent on the phone.However,I really was not keen to entrust Danny to the care of the Chinese health services,even for a large sum of money.Fortunately after 2 Nurofen he fell asleep and felt better later on that night. Next day we got up and walked past Century Park,a rather flashy area resembling Ramat Aviv Gimel,and made our way to another market called A and P mall,which resides under the Science and TEchnology Museum Metro.Here it was more glitzy and less crowded by far.I got my winter coat,and Danny got some sports shoes.We were happy to have got all the stuff we wanted,and then got the 3pm bus back to Lin’an.We now have 2 days to rest at home,fortunate as my throat is a bit scratchy.Then on Thursday we are going to visit Wuzhen Water Town with two of my Literature students.

Aquarium on Nanjing Rd

bridge near the science tech museumqueues outside Apple sore Nanjing Rd

3 thoughts on “The Great Chinese Migration

  1. Adapted from Email entitled: Four Perlmutters and 22 Million Chinese

    Off to Beijing
    We took the train to Beijing (from Chengde) on September 30th [2004] and found it much to our liking. We had tickets in the “soft seat carriage”. This is assigned seating with two seats facing another two, with a very small table in between – for all the goodies. The Chinese seem to like to eat almost as much as Israelis and just about as we sat down, people starting pulling out food from their various packs. Also as the train pulls away from the station there is a vast array of food being wheeled through the cabin by the train staff – we bought some almonds – kind of baked with an outer shell, very good.
    The trip is 4 hours long – this is the express train – with only one or two short stops.
    The train must have had about 15 carriages and it was packed – this was the start of the National Day week holiday.
    Arriving in Beijing
    We started to understand a bit about the holiday crowds once we got out of the station – crowds, and crowds of people. We had no idea where to grab a taxi – every time we spotted one the driver refused to take us. We understood that there must be a taxi stand but again had no idea where to go. We found a taxi and while we were trying to get out of the station area he showed us the line for the taxis – wow.
    Got to the hotel and after settling in met our friend Yang in the bar. We knew that he would be in the hotel – he was with an Elderhostel group [now know as Roadscholar] that was finishing their tour in Beijing. On Friday morning we were invited to join the group for a trip to the Forbidden City.
    We stayed with the group for awhile and then took off on our own for Tiananmen Square – thought it would be nice to see on National Day. We could barely approach the area.
    The crowds
    I won’t keep repeating myself – but the crowds wherever we went were vast – the paper said that there were 22 million people in Beijing. Except for National Day the weather was wonderful – blue skies, warm afternoons. Everyone out to see the Chinese national treasures. The people were really very well behaved and we had no trouble – not with the crowds, not gettings a taxi, etc.

    Our tour in Beijing….

    I’m going to end this message now but not before I explain:
    The definition of a “week’s” vacation in China –
    We were on vacation from the 28th of September through the 6th of October.
    As many of you know the weekend before vacation we were expected to work – what we didn’t know until Friday afternoon (the 8th) was that we also worked this weekend!
    So if you are doing your arithmetic correctly our 7 day vacation turned into 3 days!
    Oh, well, learn something new everyday.
    Linda Perlmutter

  2. Hope Danny is well now and tell him to take care of himself. Insurance is not much use when you need a good doctor who can understand what you are going through in a place like this where many people don’t speak your language.

  3. Ruth!
    I’m glad to hear you have time to rest! Not only do you deserve it but experiencing so many new things every day entitles you to time off too!
    Linda – glad to read how y our experiences tie in with Ruth’s!

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