Travelling alone is completely new to me, I thought that I would enjoy the freedom and confidently address all strangers, but instead I am preferring to keep to myself, and choose my own routines.
The routine typically consists of walking around the city, 'soaking it in', as they say, so that I can truly feel I have been in Shanghai, instead of just to Lujiazui, otherwise known as the Pudong Skyline.
To a beggar in People's Square, I must have seemed like an arrogant, ironic little punk, passing him a fair few jiao thinking them kwai. Which means I was giving him pennies instead of any sort of amount that could give him a warm lunch.
Still, from the exchange I learned 'already' in chinese (已经), which, as with every word I learn, fires me up into thinking I have conquered the language. A juvenile positivity, but one that I embrace! 'I have learned how to speak 'already' - complete fluency, you are next!'
I stayed in Blue Mountain Bund Youth Hostel, near East Nanjing Station. I highly recommend it, and it seems to hold a high reputation in the hostelling community Nationwide. The staff were young and friendly, and I ended up spending some time with them outside of their work hours.
As is also commonplace, I wound up with some Brits sitting in the mellowing evenings, drinking beer and talking about some long forgotten advertisement or soundbite from ten years ago.
Couchsurfing is also serving me here. I have met two people already and am set to meet a third when I venture to Nanjing. In Shanghai, I went to a party filled with Romanian architects. Everyone I asked: 'Where are you from?' answered 'Romania.' And then when I asked them 'What do you do?' They said 'I'm an architect'. So it was really difficult to remember who was who. But there was a tall Chinese man, who is on my Wechat contact list as 'Being'. I'm not sure if that is Chinese or existentialist.
I have invitations piling up in my Couchsurfing inbox, from people of all Nationalities. I'm looking forward to continue onwards!