I’ve been learning a few Chinese words and phrases here and there, but by far the phrase I use the most is “xie xie” which means “thank you”. You pronounce it “shee-ay shee-ay” with the emphasis on the “ay”. Or so I think. I’m pretty sure. Anyway, I find myself using that one a lot (see previous post) and so far no one has hit me for accidentally insulting them, so that’s good.

Oh man, I should have brought my camera to lunch today. At a restaurant near the office I sampled delicacies such as frog (complete with bones), beef tongue (can’t seem to get away from that but it’s good), ox stomach, and fish bones. Though some people might be repulsed by the mention of what something on the plate is, everything is usually prepared so well that it really doesn’t matter. I’m sure the guys here have had experience with visitors rejecting food because of what it was or what part of the animal it came from. They tell me what something is and then laugh as if they were waiting for me to vomit. My philosophy: If it tastes good, I’ll eat it – and everything I’ve had so far tastes great so it’s really not a big deal. As a bonus, I’ve gotten many compliments on my command of the chopsticks!

Tomorrow’s plans are finalized. Stanley (again: American name) is taking me to Hangzhou, which is something like an hour and a half south of Shanghai. It’s where he went to college and apparently it’s got some good touristy type stuff to offer. Yes, I am a tourist here – how can I not be? The only thing I can say is “thank you” so integrating with the locals is a bit difficult. I’ll check in again probably Sunday night after I spend the say walking around Shanghai.