Friday, October 29, 2010

Another Day another dollar


          Lately I’ve been constantly working and doing homework for school. In the little moments of free time I have, I’ve been going to the gym and exploring the city. On Tuesday, I went to the Expo again with fellow cohort members Sherry and Paulette, and one of her coworkers Caleb. Having already been twice ive seen most of the country pavilions but I still have some exploring to do.  With each time I find myself for the most part impressed with all the designs of the different pavilions. As the countdown of days to the end of the EXPO nears single digits, the attendance of visitors has significantly increased.   Last weekend there were over a million visitors for the day, which was 1/75th of the expected amount of people to visit over the course of the 6-month event.  I have come to accept that entering the pavilions is almost impossible unless you want hour upon hours. With that being said, ive gotten great satisfaction out of just looking at the pavilions. One of the coolest ones that I saw and went into was the Netherlands. Filled with bright lights and very odd works of art including a Vincent Van Gogh piece, there was a lot to look at and be amazed by even without the remedies that the Netherlands are known for. The biggest disappointment of the day and possibly the whole Expo was how terrible the US pavilion was.  While many pavilions are filled with timelines of their history and to set the environment of the country, the US was far from it. The main attractions were 3 movies about how the US is trying to be innovative and trying to work together as a team to make the world a better place, and sucking up to the theme of the World Expo, Better City, Better Life. They also featured a room covered with advertisement from American brands. To top off the Epic failure of the US, in the gift shop everything was significantly overpriced and were straight up garbage, and to make things worse, half the products had stickers on them that said, "Made in China". Never in my life have I felt so embarrassed to be an American. The shame and disappointment of being a world power and having the pavilion look like it was created in a day. I do understand there were budgeting issues and that the pavilion almost wasn’t built, but common people! I think the Expo has been very amusing and entertaining and has been a big success not only in China but also as a whole. One thing that I wonder is, what will happen to all the Expo advertisement when the event ends. I feel that every street corner is filled with something linked to the Expo and so far has been the decoration of the city, so when it is gone, what will the city actually look like since its been this way for a couple years.

         Today has been a bittersweet day. Yesterday I told that my morning classes was cancelled which I was excited about, only to find out that I have to teach another class, which was suppose to start early than my normal class.  With that big disappointment I arrived to school and found the place packed with parents, cameras, and camcorders. It turns out that today is observation day and the parents sit in on the classes as the teachers show them what the kids have learned so far.  I’m glad that the principle did not inform me of the this slightly HUGE detail yesterday, as well as tell me that I would be teaching my horrible preschooler class for not the normal 30 minute class but rather an hour. By chance, I am very grateful that I changed into a button down shirt at the last minute and didn't follow through on my casual Friday attire.  To make things worse, I let one of the teachers borrow my fake fruit to use in her class yesterday. The only problem is I needed it for the class I was about to teach, but just my luck she was using it to demonstrate in front of the parents.  After waiting about 10 minutes She said it would only take a few minute longer but of course it was much longer, making me late for my own class. Once in my class I had to teach with the eyes of the parents staring at me like a hawk watching my every move. Sweating profusely, I continued on with the lesson which was essentially the Chinese teacher yelling at me in broken English that I needed to do this and do that, some of which the students had never even learned. After essentially being a puppet, and successfully making a fool of myself to the parents the class ended.
         I went to the grand opening of this fancy “Members only” club called Prive (pre-Vay). One of my friend was able to get my and my roommate might on the guest list so we were able to go. There was a huge line outside the club that wrapped around the block with security everywhere. It was a “Dress to impress” red carpet theme. After waiting about 25 minutes in line, we finally got in through security. There was a red carpet walkway that led to the door of the club. There were photographers everywhere and as you walked down the red carpet, there were 2 beautiful girls dressed in big fancy white dresses that stopped you and took a picture with you as well as give you a sharpie to sign the wall. I never in my life have felt like celebrity as I did here. With hundreds of people lined up outside the gates peering in and security personnel and photographers everywhere, I kind of felt like a big deal.
         Once inside they had free flow (all you can drink) until midnight. They were popping bottles like crazy and every 20 or so minutes, they would bring out Champagne bottles that were lit with sparklers to certain people. There were photographers and a video crew that were walking through taking footage of the special event. The place was very fancy and classy and featured leather couches and 2 different stages 3 different rooms and a balcony. At one point in the night they had so many people in the club that they exceeded maximum capacity and stopped letting people in. The club can be seen here http://prive-shanghai.com/To be a member of the club, just to get access, it costs 10,000RMB, which is about $1500; it goes all the way up to 50,000 RMB. This is the kind of place that im sure a lot of the business people take clients to wine and dine them. Overall I had a great time and it was a nice break from work.
  

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