Shanghai Peaks and Valleys

Posted: October 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

These last few weeks have been a bit of a rollercoaster, hence the lack of attention to my blog. But I hope (fingers crossed) to finally move my blog to a private host soon so I can do more with it, and try to get into more regular posting as I get into a routine (hopefully more interesting postings as well).

So what’s the deal here? Well Shanghai doesn’t seem to have much of the good ol’ fashioned Chinese hospitality I’m used to. It’s been quite an adjustment. Last week I was informed that the landlord of the apartment I was staying in didn’t want a foreigner staying there as it was ‘too much trouble to deal with.’ I didn’t get the full story, but it was something to do with the fact that she didn’t want to pay the extra taxes on her rental: IE: the powers that be probably don’t know she’s renting this place and since I’m a foreigner and must register with said powers that be, it could be cause for suspicion. After days of apartment searching, trying to be frugal and save a buck, I’d found several suitable places, only to be turned down for similar reasons. Needless to say I was rather frustrated after spending all my free time looking at countless rooms and apartments, often with false information. Not too mention knowing the fact I was going to have to pay a 35% commission again on a new place. Anyways, one of my co-workers, Fabian had been commuting to our school from People’s Square, which is a giant park right in the center of the city. It is THE center of everything. There was a bus right outside his place that goes directly to the school we teach at (which is strange as our school is no where near much good public transportation) and it took him about the same time to get to work as it did me, even though I live 4x closer. So I went and had a gander downtown, and found a few really nice places. More expensive of course, but for a bit more money you get an infinitely better place to stay. I paid the extra cash and got an amazing flat on the 25th floor of a high rise. I’m a block from the subway, and 10 minutes to People’s Square, where almost everything in Shanghai IS. I have a Chinese roommate, Ben, who is cool, and seldom around. I have my own balcony off my room, and a full kitchen that Ben never uses. Seriously, the fridge wasn’t even plugged in, and there’s not even a chopstick to be found in the whole kitchen. His bedroom has a private bath, and my end of the apartment has it’s own bathroom as well. It’s a really amazing place, I’m really lucky, actually blessed is definitely the better word to use. The living room is shared, including the big screen TV, and the 2nd balcony looking south with an amazing view of People’s Square and the rest of the city. Check out a few pics of the view:

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These two are from the balcony in my room, first one looking north, and the second one looking west with the river below.

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View from the living room balcony facing south, with the park a few blocks away. You can barely see the trees because of all the buildings, but it’s there!

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View to the east, you can see the top of the famed Pearl Tower on the left.

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Night shot looking south towards People’s Square out the living room.

On top of all of this, that bus I previously mentioned has a stop about 7 minutes walking away from my new place, and takes just over 20 minutes to get me right next to my school. It’s really a great spot, and I will have much easier access to many things here, namely the fellowships I’ve found here and have been attending, as well many of the friends I’ve made. I praise the Lord for this! A great guy I met when I first arrived here, Don, prayed over me last week and told me some big changes were coming and they would ignite a fire within me. I’ve already seen the evidence of this, as I unexpectedly had to move. And it’s not just the landlord’s forcefulness that made me move, but also I felt I had to because i was falling into complacency. I didn’t really know anyone near my place because it was outside of town, except for a few Chinese ladies, and I was quickly falling into lazy habits. The morning of the day I moved, I had a LONG conversation with my neighbor and got to share the gospel with her, share my beliefs and why I believe them, as well as listen to her views as well. It was one of those divine meetings I’d been praying for, as she was someone whom the Lord had put a burden on my heart for. And we had a really great conversation, I hope to have many more like it soon. I pray that she would continue to seek as the Lord is clearly doing something in her heart, please pray for her with me.

October 1st marks the start of the annual National holiday celebrated in China. We are fortunate enough to have a full week off, and I was again blessed, with my brother Tim C coming down from northern China (He teaches in Hebei where I used to teach) to hang out and travel. Together with his girlfriend, Michelle, and another sister, Rena, we all went to a nearby city called Suzhou. Suzhou is known as the Venice of the East, famed for its waterway alleys throughout the city. It was a very tranquil and serene place, even with the bus loads upon bus loads of Chinese tourists. Right now though, we are on a train on our way to another city called Hangzhou, also famed for it’s beautiful West Lake. Just how beautiful is it? I guess I’ll find out soon. More info and pics to follow! But for now check out these shots from Suzhou:

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Here’s some evening/night shots around the town.

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Here is the biggest bell I’ve ever seen. The walls were a foot thick, I have no idea how they made the supports strong enough to hold it. The whole thing shook when they hit it with the battering ram.

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All those little things on top are coins, and that support must have been 6 feet tall. The U-bolt holding it up, probably several feet thick, solid steel. Solid something. The whole thing just dangled there and shook when it was hit. They should have done a modern marvels episode on this thing!

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And this guy made our day! He was transporting his recently purchased doors. Fortunately, they were screen doors, so he had at least some visibility……

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All for now! More to come soon!

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Comments
  1. Ben says:

    Beautiful pictures of the town at night man! Makes me want to be there. Good to hear that you’re keeping awake in the Spirit…it’s been a bit of a battle here in Moorhead, but the Lord keeps bringing things and people into my life that give me more joy and hope. May He keep doing the same for you!

    You should read 2 Peter. Read that yesterday, good stuff!

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