Before I move on to my post-graduation travels, I thought I would just dump a bunch of pictures from Shanghai that I haven’t had a chance to post about yet. Enjoy 🙂
Pretty and Pampered
Compared to American prices, services are really cheap in China (and probably most Asian countries). At home, I never get my nails done or get massages because I feel like I can’t justify the price. So, I took the opportunity to really pamper myself while I was in Shanghai 🙂
My favorite beauty experience was getting eyelash extensions. My eyelash set cost around 168 RMB (~ $25 USD) which is abnormally cheap considering eyelash extensions in the US are around $200! In fact, I found it to be suspiciously cheap (will I go blind???), so of course, I let my friends be the guinea pig asked them to report back on the experience before I tried it myself. 🙂
First, they ask you to pick out the eyelash set you want – they all looked the same to me, so I went with the second-cheapest option. (The prices went something like 100 RMB, 168RMB, 225 RMB, 360 RMB). I went alone and obviously, my eyes were closed, so I can’t say too much about the details of what they actually did to me. The process took around 1.5 hours. It wasn’t painful at all, but they put cotton pads on my lower eyelid, which stung a little bit – I smelled alcohol so it’s possible they were disinfected and my eyes stung from that.
My conversation (in Chinese) with the Technician while I was getting my eyelashes done:
Technician: Where are you from?
Me: I’m from America.
Technician: Wow, your eyelashes are really nice! You have such great eyelashes! Is it because Americans eat a lot of beef?
Me: …. what?
Other Technician: Wow, her eyelashes are really nice! If I had eyelashes like that, I would totally get eyelash extensions too!
1st Technician: I know right! It’s because she eats lots of beef!
Me: … ???????
My technician was very thorough – definitely makes me feel bad that she is doing such detailed work for such little pay 😦
My lashes lasted for about 5-6 weeks and probably would have lasted longer if I weren’t traveling (pretty sure I lost 30% of my eyelashes during a single car ride in the windy desert of Inner Mongolia…). Like regular eyelashes, they slowly start falling out one by one, so by the end you look like a crazy person with 3 mega long eyelashes LOL. I guess that’s why people who regularly get eyelash extensions will go back to get a touch-up every two weeks or so.
My friends and I went to a local massage parlor and opted for the 88 RMB foot massage. The rooms held two people each, so we got split up, and I was in the same room as my friend Vicky. She had a female masseuse, and I had a male one.
The rooms were really nice, with comfy chairs, and a TV too! And, we were served tea!
The foot massage started with soaking our feet in a tub of warm, herbal water. To my surprise, when my feet were soaking, my masseuse was giving me a back/shoulder massage. So I guess the foot massage isn’t really limited to your feet!
Then, they wrapped our knees in a minty gauze thing, and gave us heated pads/cushions for our shoulders and stomach. I did not enjoy the actual massage, only because I am very ticklish/sensitive to pain and don’t really enjoy massages in general… but my friends really enjoyed it!
Our masseuses were middle-aged, and I am making an assumption that they are not very well-educated, and probably has never been out of China. So, it was interesting to talk with them and hear what Chinese people think about foreigners and the world outside China. It seems like they have a lot of misconceptions about foreigners, but are curious and eager to learn.
Masseuse: Where are you from?
Vicky: The UK.
Masseuse: Ohh, so you’re American, and you’re British, huh? Aren’t those places near each other?
Vicky and Me: Um, not really. (LOL)
Masseuse: Your friend that you were waiting with, the black one, she’s in the other room now, where is she from?
Vicky: She’s from Papua New Guinea.
Masseuse: Ohhhh, I know, isn’t that place really hot? Like it’s hotter than here? Yeah, that’s why she’s so tan!
Vicky and Me: ….uhh, yeah, maybe? (She’s not tan… that’s her natural skin color… because she’s black…)
The closest Western supermarket to Fudan University is Walmart, but if you take a bus, you can also get to a Carrefour. Be sure to check out the potato chip aisle! There are familiar brands like Lays potato chips, but they come in a variety of flavors that you have likely never tried:
Thames Town is a neighborhood in the Songjiang District of Shanghai. It imitates a British town – red telephone booths, Western-style architecture, cute cobbled streets.
This is a great place to visit if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Shanghai, because there aren’t that many people here. In fact, it’s almost a ghost town – most of the residential buildings are uninhabited (although I heard people are finally starting to move in now). You can stroll along the river, wander inside a book store, take a break at the corner cafe, and pretend that you’re in a quaint British town. Too bad a lot of the shops and businesses don’t seem to be open because there aren’t any customers… but it seems like once people move in, Thames Town will become a cool self-contained community (they already have their own pre-school, a fitness center, etc.).
Ghost towns seem to be quite common in China – developers make really cool and nice neighborhoods, but then nobody rents property because it’s too expensive for the average Chinese citizen (or the property is bought by really wealthy individuals as a second home/investment, so nobody ends up moving in). Other ghost towns I’ve seen in China: the area around Dishui Lake in Shanghai (see “My 170km Bike Ride from Hell“) and Kangbashi in Inner Mongolia (see future post).
Anyways, there are a LOT of couples here taking engagement photos. Like, a lot.
Orange Juice Machine
Keep an eye out for these cool orange juice vending machines at subway stops or airports. One juice is around 15 RMB and it’s literally freshly squeezed, right in front of you. Gotta get that vitamin C!
Qipu Street Shopping
If you’re in need of a laugh, please head to Qipu Street, a clothing market. (Qipu is pronounced like “cheap”… I don’t think that’s a coincidence.) Here you can find off-brand clothing and accessories. If the nonsensical English written on T-shirts don’t crack a smile on your face, I don’t know what will.
A shopping tip: If prices are listed, you aren’t expected to haggle. You can try haggling, but some shopkeepers may become offended. We didn’t haggle much on Qipu Lu, but haggled a lot more at the Fake markets.
So, that’s it. I’m FINALLY done writing about Shanghai! It was an amazing semester as a Fudan University student and I feel lucky to have experienced it. Keep a look out for future posts about my post-semester travels in Inner Mongolia, Sichuan, and more 🙂