After the museum we planned on heading over to Yu garden, because I read that it was a must visit place. We tried to jump in a cab and go over there, but when I tried to communicate where to go to the driver, even going so far as showing the map on my iphone to him, his only form of communication was to make the most disgusted possible grunting sound. I felt like an absolute moron, and we got out of the cab without going anywhere. As we wandered around trying to figure out where to go, a young Chinese couple who spoke perfect english asked me to take their picture in front of an indiscriminate old building. I took the picture and they started talking to us, separately. The girl talked to my roommate and the guy talked to me. Their story was that they were on vacation in Shanghai but lived in Qingdao, which is where I will be headed next week. My interest in Qingdao turned out to be the kiss of death. We had a friendly conversation, when the guy casually brought up that they were on their way to a traditional Chinese tea ceremony and asked if we would like to come. We had nothing more concrete in mind, so we agreed and went along with them. The tea ceremony was really interesting and the tea itself was delicious and it turned out to be a really neat experience, until it came time to pay. Over the course of the ceremony, it began to be very obvious that the nice couple was in on the scam.
Since the tea ceremony, I have heard the scam/hustlers/respectable businessmen offer watches, sunglasses, massagee or tea ceremony. My feelings on it have evolved a bit. I don't really begrudge the people anything, and I'm not too upset about the tea ceremony. It was fun, and they were really nice people, I just would have rather spent a bit less money on it, and of course, I wish most of those people would take no for an answer, but I can only imagine the desperate circumstances of their lives and how every month must be like balancing a bowling ball on the tip of a sewing needle. It gets annoying, in fact our host had a minor physical altercation when a guy trying to sell us laser pointers wouldn't leave us alone, but it's become one of the charms of Shanghai for me.
Next, I'll tell you about today's adventures and a bit about the hockey down here. I'm also compiling a list of funny english translations...oh and the noodles are incredible.