Time for an update! So much has happened, it's been crazy! I suppose a good place to start would be the awesome time I had on Friday. Pretty much everybody from our program went out to club Muse, had some drinks and danced the night away. The drinks were expensive though, so I only had two. But the music was awesome. For whatever reason, the club music here is really good, and there are a lot of good remixes. For instance, one song contained Rage Against the Machine. Dancing at a hoppin' night club to Rage Against the Machine in the Shanghai night is something everyone should experience. On Saturday we had a mandatory field trip to the Shanghai Urban Planning Expo. The 2nd floor contains a scale model of the city, and it is quite ridiculous, as soon as I get a camera, there will be pictures, although you really have to see it for yourself. And then we took a "virtual tour" of the city in a theater that completely surrounds the audience. We pretty much made fun of the ridiculous cartoon characters who guided us around, and at one point I accidentally swallowed my bottled water the wrong way and coughed it up all over three different people (one of which was a chinese man whom I did not know, and who promptly walked away despite my best "duibuqi"s (sorry)) . It was pretty ridiculous. And the tour guide accidentally called me an asshole for it. And then at the end, the tour showed the earth and the lady who was narrating said "We are now in the space." All in all, a cool place. Afterwards I decided to walk around People's Square by myself, and two chinese high school students came up and started talking to me and asking where I was from. We had an awkward conversation of broken chinese and broken english. As I was walking away, it started raining and the dudes ran over and invited me under their umbrella. It would seem that Chinese students are eager to make western friends because it's cool to have them, and so we hit it off very well. They ended up taking me to a really cool tea house where the waitress performed an elaborate tea ceremony. We shared cigarettes (also a chinese friendship tradition, sorry mom) and conversed. It was very cool. They also taught me how to hit on girls in Chinese. I was taught to say "xie xie mei nu" which means "Thank you pretty girl" and also I was taught how to say "flower girl" but I forget the Chinese right now. On Sunday, me and some dudes decided to explore the Pu Dong area (which is on the other side of the river, and is where all of the super tall buildings are). There was a lot less to do over there, but it was cool to see the buildings (even though it was rainy and foggy). There is a cool park in the middle of the pudong area, and it's pretty nuts to just sit there and be surrounded by massive sky scrapers. And then we went to the mall, and we ate at Burger King (which, I am pleased to say, tastes identical to American Burger King, so I will definitely be hitting that up for some western junk food). On the train ride back, a Chinese woman started awkwardly hitting on me and my two friends. She poked me and my buddy Kellen in the belly numerous times and commented that we were "fat, but i also fat". She ended up sort of making a scene, and we were all laughing uncomfortably. It was ridiculous. And it was the longest subway ride of my life. She ended up asking us for a kiss, and she ended up kissing me on the cheek. It was wierd, but hilarious. All of the Chinese people on the subway looked pissed off at her. After a nap, we went out to the bund to meet some girls from our program and to go to a "paint party". We were all wearing our crappiest clothes, and when we got there, the girls decided that the party wasn't cool enough and also that they were tired and wanted to go home (they had been out since 3 in the afternoon because some place had free margaritas). So we ended up making it a guys night and heading over to "I Love Shanghai". It was awesome because the bund is the are of shanghai where a lot of super snooty and pretentious bars and clubs are, and we were in our clothes we were going to throw away. We ended up walking around and meeting some other Americans who were teaching English in Hangzhou. It was cool because I hope to visit Hangzhou, and now we know some people who can show us around.
All in all, it was quite an adventurous weekend. And this is an adventuresome place. And it feels good, to be twenty-one, and to be on an adventure.