McDonalds = Cheap Fast Food
*Myth - Mai Dang Lao (McDonalds) - They are all over Shanghai! Today, I broke down and had my first hamburger...it was my friends Ben & Tomas who forced me...Tasted the same...was about $2 for a drink, fries, and a burger. Surprisingly, Mai Dang Lao, Ken De Ji (KFC) and Han Bao Wang (Burger King) are really fancy here. Fei Chang (very) Facy. Table cloths, Fuwuyuan (waiters), and the price is relatively expensive. "Classy Western Dining"...??
Air Pollution is noticeably everywhere
*Fact - On rainy days, there isn't much (or even a day after it rains). For the most part, there is air pollution but not as bad as Beijing. Everywhere you go, people are wearing face masks as a way to breathe in clean air. At first, this seemed odd. But now, most of us are having second thoughts...we should buy them to not only "look cool" and fit in but also to avoid eating chemicals and dust. (Don't worry mom and dad :)
Soy Sauce on Chinese Food
*Myth - Only occasionally you see Chinese people use soy sauce on their food. It's not as common as you would think! Most places have it for Westerners because that's what we're used to associating this kind of food with.
PDA is the same as Americans
*Myth - Just recently is it socially acceptable for a couple to hold hands in public. You don't see it too much. Most Chinese think it's inappropriate still to hold hands in public places...interesting...
Tea is Everywhere
*Fact - With every meal, you will find cha (tea). Coffee can be found but its more expensive. Most Chinese people drink cha in the morning, afternoon, and night. Green tea especially. Good thing I like tea (Wo ai lu cha). What's this next to me? It's Wo Li Hua Cha (Jasmine Tea!). mmmmm.
*After shopping at Wo er ma (Walmart) which is 3 floors of overwhelming Chinese food/goods, I took a taxi back all by myself for the first time. I figured its been about three weeks and I know enough Chinese to tell the driver where I need to go. After saying, "Wo yao qu Wudong lu he Wuchuan lu" (I want to go to Wudong Rd and Wuchuan Rd), the driver proceeded to ask me many questions in Chinese. I had a hard time understanding him but eventually, I could make out some key words. So we ended up talking the whole way back about me being American and from Michigan, him being Chinese, me studying at Fudan Univeristy and being 1/2 Chinese. We both kept laughing when he would respond and I would look at him clueless. By the end, we became pengyous (friends) and I was very happy that I did that whole experience solo. Just building my confidence...Totally worth 12RMB = $1.75.
*I don't know how people here survive without Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and blogger. These sites and more are blocked (and now, probably google). Because I'm paying for a VPN, I can get access to these. This has been a big topic...the freedom of knowledge. The government does a good job at censoring their citizens from the "real" facts at times...some topics I've shared with some Chinese friends (like the Rwandan Genocide) is off their radar because their government doesn't allow them to fully understand what "corruption" is. Hmmm...